ILAND

Theater Reviews

Monday, April 2, 2007 - 3:00 pm
By L.A. Weekly Theater Critics (Neal Weaver)

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I LAND In his solo-performance, writer-performer Keo Woolford tells us that he was born in Oahu, but his parents were Catholic, and his early years sound like a typical American childhood. His life was changed when he first saw the dancer he calls the Hula God, and was introduced to kahiko (ancient or classical hula), based on ancient ritual and religion and far removed from pop-culture hula-hula. (Hula seems to be a life discipline as well as an art form: Woolford was banished by his hula teacher after he indulged in some schoolboy violence.) He was a member of a successful boy band, turned to acting, and has appeared in major cities across the globe. Threaded through his narrative is his frustration over the marginalization of Hawaiian culture and attempts to pigeonhole people in cultural categories. He's a handsome, multitalented performer who punctuates his stories with humor and dance (choreography by Robert Cazimero), ranging from disco and hip-hop to send-ups of kitschy tourist-style hula, to the strong, traditional male hula. Clint Ramos designed the splendid set and costumes. Director Roberta Uno keeps the production fluid, and Elton Lin provides lively sound design. East West Players at DAVID HENRY HWANG THEATER, 120 Judge John Aiso St., dwntwn.; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru April 8. (213) 625-7000. (Neal Weaver)

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