Over the years, I've noticed that many of my good friends have a common trait of being really good story tellers. Our house-mates in Hawaii are no exception. We currently have friends who are taking care of our place in Kea'au while we're at home in Southeast Alaska. Stephen, Mónica, and their son (and Desi, their magical little dog) have enriched our lives since moving in with us there later last winter. They really excel at building relationships. Mónica commutes monthly or bi-monthly between California and Hawaii, while Stephen and their son, hold down the fort at our place. Monica is a dynamic, "people-saavy" innovator, who can figure out complex situations for any kind of organization. She's super organized, and she is the glue that holds everything together. She used to work with Shawn at Cabrillo, where she helped him with all kinds of thorny situations. Her husband, Stephen is working on the final project for his doctoral dissertation in Literature (Translation and Adaptation Studies). His enthusiasm for his project, and for life in general, has been really infectious. Steph and and his son are two of the most creative, imaginative people I've ever met. They also love to cook, and they became great "hosts" for us in our home. They were always coming up with inventive recipes for ono food and drink, and they had a way of making me feel like I was "on vacation" while at home. I also loved all the liquid chalk diagrams on our windows, outlining Steph's project. Steph got me hooked on the French OSS 117 series, which is like a parody of James Bond 007. That, and some hilarious true stories from Steph's life often had me bursting with laughter and incredulity. Steph is already an awesome professor, if he chooses to do that with his PhD. He really engages you with his work and his stories. Lit Class would not be boring with him! We're honored to have gotten to know these guys better while we were in Hawaii together.
It really brightened our week to get a call from Steph the other day, and to hear about their life in Hawaii while we're away from there. I love hearing how their son is really thriving in our local school. I remember being pretty impressed with the Kea'au Middle School staff, when we helped this family complete the enrollment process. Kea'au exemplifies good educational communication practices, contrary to some of the more negative rumors we had previously heard about East Hawaii public schools.
I just finished reading the current script for Steph's project, which is an adaptation of the Shakespeare play Othello, and it really moves! Steph is a former Marine, whose military experiences around the globe lend a compelling authencity to his productions. I've read some of his previous works, and have seen videos of some of his and Mónica's presentations. They have a phenomenal talent for putting together impressive professional productions within the confines of the fast-paced UC Santa Cruz academic quarter. Soon after his arrival to our place, Steph established his visiting researcher status at UH Hilo, and is now working with UH Hilo on a community-wide production of his play. It looks like the production will take place during the fall of 2020. I'm excited to possibly work on some harp music for a scene or two in this one.
You can check out some of Steph's work here (for mature audiences; It's not PG-rated, so keep that in mind, if you have youngsters around):
If you download and read the 'Ōlelo script, you might even find my alter-ego in there. it's rather flattering ;).
Some of Steph and Mónica's earlier works can be found here:
Thanks for keeping up my aloha, guys!
A few things I'm passionate about: