legend of ko'olauBERKELEY — “The Legend of Ko’olau” is having its Northern California premiere at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley, on Saturday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m.

Out of the rugged, romantic tradition of the California vaqueros emerged the rebel Hawaiian cowboy Ko’olau — a hero written about by Jack London and W.S. Merwin. Selected for creation by the National Performance Network of New Orleans, this historical drama set in 1893 in Hawaii is touring nationally and will be performed in New York City in June 2016.

In Act 1, Hawaiian cowboy Kaluaiko’olau strives to survive at a time when his Polynesian race is facing decimation and suddenly finds himself forced to make a choice between his family and authorities to avoid being taken to the “Living Grave” on Molokai Island.

In Act 2, Ko’olau turns to native ways to survive in Kalalau Valley and finds nature in his ally in his battle to keep his family on Kauai Island.

Director Monte Scott Perez has worked in stage productions, including a national touring play with the late Jack Krugman (“Quincy,” “The Odd Couple”) and also performed as an actor. He has been the director in productions of “The Legend of Ko’olau” at premieres in Kauai, Honolulu, and Los Angeles (at the David Henry Hwang Theatre).

Actor Moroni Kanekoa recently earned an MFA in drama from the University of Southern California and has acted in various roles on stage and television in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Maui High School and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Playwright/producer Gary T. Kubota, recipient of a grant from the National Performance Network of New Orleans, has produced two independent documentaries aired on Hawaii Public Television and received several national awards as a journalist. His songs are performed by professional entertainers and his poetic ode “The 2007 Voyage of the Hokele’a Through Micronesia” – in Hawaiian, English, and Satawalese – is included in the online Hawaiian language website Ulukau.org.

Admission is $30 general, $25 in advance. For more information, call (510) 849-2568 or visit http://lapena.org http://LegendOfKoolau.com.

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