‘Masters of the Currents’ theatrical performance promotes social change | Guam News

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“You are not alone,” is the message Humanities Guåhan hopes to resonate with Micronesians in the community who may feel conflicted after leaving their island nations to live here in Guam. Hope for change lies in ‘Masters of the Currents’ – a production which has been dubbed a ‘powerful theatrical journey’.

The piece is based on the experiences of Micronesians who migrated to Hawaii.

“During the time when we were really trying to figure out what was going on in our community in Honolulu, and one of our problems was that a lot of people didn’t understand who we were,” Innocenta “Mama Ina” Sound-Kikku, a actress in production and a cultural navigator, said.

A clip from Saturday’s theatrical production gave shoppers at the Agana Mall insight into the issues facing Micronesians, particularly conflicts over identity and belonging.

The show, created by TeAda Productions and co-produced by Breaking Wave Theater Company, allowed members of the Micronesian diaspora to tell their stories.

Leilani Chan, producer of “Masters of the Currents,” recalled the first time she met Mama Ina and listened to the experiences of Micronesians in Hawaii.

“When we were first introduced, my co-artistic director, Ova Saopeng, and I were working in communities, especially with Southeast Asian refugee communities. And when he heard what was happening to Micronesians in Hawaii, we saw a lot of parallels to what happened to refugees after the Vietnam War,” Chan said.

It inspired “kokua,” an important Hawaiian concept for giving back or helping, she said. For Chan and his colleagues, that meant using their talents for the benefit of humanity.

“What we had learned in our practice as theater artists, how to gather stories and tell stories, so that we could promote communication in the community to hopefully promote social change for the better “, said Chan. “With Mama Ina’s guidance, we were able to start collecting stories from the community and also looking for artists to perform in the community. Some of the actors on the show were part of our very first story circles and casting workshops.”

The show has toured across the United States and now the theater production is here in Micronesia, presented by Humanities Guåhan.

“This is a very important step for us. It’s the first time we’ve brought it here and we know the issues here are different, but, also, from what we’re hearing, there are a lot of similarities,” Chan said.

She encouraged islanders to attend the show and share the connection between their stories and the issues faced in Guam. Humanities Guåhan shared the same sentiments.

“We thought it resonated so well with the experiences and lives of Micronesians and Micronesian communities here in Guåhan, that we thought it was really important to bring the piece here so that the communities here understand that they are not alone and that these experiences are happening everywhere,” said Kimberlee Kihleng, executive director of Humanities Guåhan.

Kihleng spoke of the similarities in the issues faced, but also pointed out that these voices are rarely heard.

Guam’s “Masters of the Currents” tour began Sept. 26, with a week-long series of humanities performance snippets and conversations at six public high schools, according to Humanities Guåhan.

This week there are four performances scheduled at the University of Guam Fine Arts Theater.

“Their stories, their personal and cultural, community stories often go unheard and they are certainly underrepresented and I can say that is especially true in Guåhan as well,” Kihleng said.

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