Literary / “Really, it’s like a first step,” says Harry Wong, Artistic Director at Kumu Kahua Theatre. “A way to get your feet wet in writing plays. Because it’s hard, yeah? Writing subtext.”
Kumu Kahua, the little black box theater in the heart of downtown, produces “plays about life in Hawaii, by Hawaii’s playwrights, for Hawaii’s people.” And every year back into the 1970s, Kumu Kahua has partnered with UH-Manoa to sponsor a playwriting competition. The 2012 Kumu Kahua/UHM Theatre and Dance Department Playwriting Contest is now open for submissions. There are three categories with cash prizes.
Whether you win or not, all the plays submitted are catalogued in the University’s library, a permanent record upon whom future producers may call. Sometimes, a submission is picked up by a different theater, as with Lee Tonouchi’s 3 Year Swim Club. Kemuel DeMoville’s Cane Fields Burning, last year’s winner, was the season opener at Kumu Kahua. “It gets a lot of writers to finish,” said Wong, “having that deadline to work towards.”