Be still at the moment between daylight and dusk and you will sense the uniquely Hawaiian phenomenon of Ulalena, the whispering wind that the ancients and moderns alike revere for its sense of cleansing and hope.
A lone, sustained, haunting wail of the ‘ha, or breathe, forced through the conch shell calls the audience to attention. Chatter ceases and all eyes are cast upon the stage as a lone man enters carrying the coffin of his ancestral bones upon his back as he makes his way to a new, unknown land. An earthy, a cappella chant from the goddess, Mo’o, signals a stirring in the mana, or life-force and sets the stage for discovery.
Life springs forth as journeyers from the distant islands of Polynesia make their was across the stage in outriggers and sails being guided by the great Shark-god toward the land of the volcano goddess, Pele. A demi-god, Maui, has pulled the island up from the sea and captured the sun in his fishing net. Visions abound. Swimming fish, fluttering birds, cascading waterfalls, the lizard-god and half-pig/ half-god beast we will come to love are introduced into the story and the lives of the new inhabitants to Maui.
The life and culture of the Hawaiians is portrayed beautifully and rhythmically with dancing and chanting, whether by the pounding of kapa and taro, the struggles between forces, or the feasting and merriment that Makihiki Harvest brings to the community.
Ulalena. The winds bring change with the arrival of the sails of the great god from the sea, Captain Cook. Seduced by the magnificent items he offers, the mirrors, and gold and gun powder, the islanders mistake him for a god, as his banners appeared to them to be in reverence for the agricultural god, Lono.
Missionaries and seekers of wealth arrive along with immigrants to work their fields; people arrive from the Phillipines, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Portugal to work the sugar fields. In its state of flux and change the ways of the kapu, or total respect and reverence for the natural order of things, is lost.
A great disturbance between old ways and new threatens. Caught between two worlds, the last remaining monarchs attempt desperately to bridge the gap, but it is to no avail. The tides have turned and Pele explodes.
But the determined and forceful passion of the Hawaiians remains intact, as if the kapu system has never really left them. In accepting the ebb and flow of progress and development, and by embracing the winds of Ulalena they offer us all the promise of hope and joy in the wake of the destruction. It is a truly inspiring and beautiful story, told in the most passionate and moving manner.
Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
New York, New York
September 9, 2008
January 4, 2004
"Ulalena" is a spellbinding thetrical journey that weaves together images of Hawaiian mythology and history into a celebration of nature and the spirit of the human imagination. The story begins with the mythological creation of the Hawaiian islands then rolls through successive voyagers who made the Islands their home. From the first Polynesians to the early European explorers, to the many immigrants from around the world who are brought to the islands to work in the sugarcane fields as the demand for sugar increases who have found their way to the shores, and finally to us. See Pele, the volcano goddess, exploding, reflecting a turbulent century. After her devastation came a time where life begins again under the peaceful luna light of Hina, the goddess of the moon. Ulalena is an exploration of other places and other times, both mythical and real.
Ulalena is an incredible show that shouldn't be missed. It is a feast for the senses and a show the whole family could enjoy. It is a production that is alive and sometimes demands audience participation. My 8-year-old was fascinated and enthralled by it. If you decide to go, buy your tickets through Activity World (from Lahaina and Kaanapali Tel: 667-7777, from Kihei and Wailea Tel: 874-7400) - they have the best, first five rows of premium front/center seating. Regularly priced at $58, discounted to $45 and kids under 12 are free. Although we paid the full price through Activity Zone and our seating was on the side, the theater is not large, so we still got a good overall enjoyment of the show. The live traditional Hawaiian music has a surround sound, providing every seat with a sense of intimacy and interaction with the performance.
From journal Rainbow over Maui
March 20, 2003
From journal Maui Honeymoon
May 24, 2002
This story of Hawaii's history told through music, dance, and acrobatics is presented in an intimate, beautiful theatre. There is not a bad seat anywhere.
And kids love it! Our 11-year-old was fascinated and never bored. When one of the ancient warriors sat down next to him on the aisle and gave him the giant eye stare that is given as a challenge to other warriors, he was enthralled. He even plays the CD of Ulalena music from time to time.
I could tell you more but instead check out this excellent web-site:
By all means, go! You won't be disappointed!
From journal Maui - Embassy Resort and beyond ** UPDATED! **
by smmmarti guide
March 20, 2002
From journal WOW! Maui for everyone