Play by Okinawan writer Daniel Akiyama to premiere at Kumu Kahua Theatre

Cage of Fireflies

Left to right: Dian Kobayashi as Kimiko, Kat Koshi as Yukiko, and Karen Yamamoto Hackler as Mitsuko. Photo by Denise De Guzman.

A Cage of Fireflies, a new drama by playwright and actor Daniel Akiyama, will be presented by Kumu Kahua Theatre from January 24 to February 24. Originally developed and presented as a staged reading, the play was one of eight selected for the 2012 Sundance Playwrights Lab. Over nine hundred plays were considered for the program. Akiyama appeared in Jon Shirota’s play Voices from Okinawa, also staged by KKT.

A Cage of Fireflies is about three sisters who were sent from Hawai‘i to Okinawa to be raised and who returned to live and work in the islands. Two of the sisters confine themselves to their small Honolulu apartment, enacting the rituals of daily life as they cling to a dream of returning to Okinawa. The third is charged with running the family’s orchid nursery. As long-suppressed hopes and regrets surface, the sisters discover what is both selfish and selfless in their love for each other.

Tickets are on sale for $5 to $20 and may be purchased with a credit card by calling 536-4441; by visiting the box office at 46 Merchant Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; or by visiting the KKT website.

Special thanks to Aloha Tofu and Armstrong Produce for their support of this production.

Playwright Daniel Akiyama was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He studied playwriting with Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Y York, Dennis Carroll, and Daniel A. Kelin II. A Cage of Fireflies, his first full-length play, was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and was developed in the Sundance program.

Director Phyllis S.K. Look holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is the recipient of an NEA/TCG directing fellowship and an HSFCA individual artist fellowship. She is a former co-producer of Hawaii Public Radio’s Aloha Shorts. She has worked in professional theatre for more than twenty-five years, directing productions at theatres across the mainland while making her artistic home at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Dian Kobayashi, originally from Kapoho on the Big Island, has performed in theatres across the country and has appeared in numerous films and TV shows. In this play, she is making her debut at KKT.

Kat Koshi works as a paralegal and was last seen onstage as Laura in KKT’s premiere production of The Life of the Land.  She was also in the UH kabuki production The Demon’s Hand, the national tour of The 47 Samurai, and The Road to Kyoto and has appeared in Hawaii Public Radio’s Aloha Shorts.

Karen Yamamoto Hackler is a storyteller, actor, and playwright. She received an individual artist fellowship in playwriting from the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. She is the founder of Lo‘i Theater, which produced a statewide touring show of her play The Lines Are Drawn.  She has been in KKT’s premieres of A Little Bit Like You, Aloha Las Vegas, and The Taste of Kona Coffee.


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