Often when you think about vacationing in Maui, going to a theater production isn’t first on your list of items to experience. “Ulalena, a Story of Hawaii’s People” is a magnificent stage play at The Maui Theater in Lahaina town, once inside you feel like you are on Broadway or even a Las Vegas venue experiencing such a dramatic and amazing show.
There is a wind and rain particular to Maui that rises at twilight. It whispers of other places and other times, both mythic and real. It blows between daylight and night, between times and worlds. It is hopeful and cleansing. The ancient Hawaiian name for this wind is ‘Ulalena. It is also the name of the newest and most amazing stage production to come from Hawai‘i in decades. The power of this production is that it is both universal and intimate. It is born from a mythology populated by beings larger than life representing a natural landscape alive with volcanoes, vast oceans and primeval rainforests. The story begins with the mythical creation of the islands and rolls through successive waves of voyagers who have found their way to these shores. From the first Polynesians to the early European explorers, and finally to us …
Drawing from the history and legend of the Hawaiian Islands the performance includes a unique mixture of hula, modern dance, percussion with fantastic lighting and stage effects. Not to mention the Moon and Lizard Goddesses that spun in the “moon” and weaved in and out of fabric with the most agile acrobatics I’ve ever seen. We have relatively little experience with the performing arts and theater and this show has inspired us to stretch our entertainment horizons. We were awestruck with the beautiful lighting and sets, captivated by the rumble of our seats by the percussion, visible high on the right of the stage.
The theater can hold near 700 guests and each seat is fantastic. The creative art lining the walls just outside the auditorium comes to life when the actors walk up and down the aisles mimicking the swimming fishes. The 9 scene show uses little words, but expresses life, ocean, waterfall, inhabitance, death, monarchy, and forces of nature through the amazing expression, the wonderful lights through the screens, dancing, chants, and sound. It’s honestly so hard to put into words, the experience is one that leaves you amazed.
Women sitting near us were overheard saying, “this is my 6th time seeing the show!” and I hear it is one that can be repeated and enjoyed over and over. Dinner packages are available that also include time with the cast post-show. We were pleasantly fascinated by the experience and recommend it. It is family friendly, but adults, couples, and mature children would benefit most.
We received tickets to attend, all opinions and experiences are our own.