Stage / In 1940, writer and illustrator Armstrong Sperry published a book that set children’s imaginations on fire. In it, a young Polynesian boy, Mafatu, battles the mighty ocean alone, his only companions a little yellow dog and an albatross. A storm tears his outrigger apart, he suffers thirst and hunger, washes up on a deserted island, conquers one fear after another and survives through resourcefulness and an indomitable spirit. That book, Call It Courage, was the 1941 Newberry Medal winner–a pre-WWII Life of Pi, sans metaphor and tiger.
Last fall, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) adapted Sperry’s tale and took it touring to the neighbor islands. According to HTY Managing Director Becky Dunning, the show received an “incredibly great response.” Oahu audiences can see the road-tested Call It Courage at Tenney Theatre.
Directed by Eric Johnson, Courage is notable for its creative use of sand painting on a light box to project images and mood. The show also promises traditional Polynesian instruments, original chants and a rapping good tale.
HTY is notable, too, for being the only theater in town with a paid company of performers. This production includes the talents of actors Maile Holck, Junior Tesoro, Alvin Chan and Kalai Stern.