Looking Inside Out
Meet the characters of Pat Masumoto's latest play within a play
October 06, 2005
Pat Masumoto is a prolific Wailuku artist with a wicked sense of humor. She opened Gallerie Ha, a showcase for local art including her own, and began conducting laugh workshops. She's a staunch advocate for women's rights, as well as a passionate poet and playwright.
In 2002, she wrote her first comedic drama, Mad Cloak, about a group of friends dealing with domestic abuse. Now Masumoto is introducing her second play, Inside Out, about a group of friends dealing with domestic abuse. Except this time, the comedy comes from watching actors perform as actors rehearsing a play called Inside the Cloak about friends dealing with abuse. The drama comes from trying to figure out how that actually works.
Anyway, to help you wrap your head around the central storyline—the play within a play—I got the lowdown from the actors, in character, as they describe their roles in the story.
Al, the Journalist
(played by Jerry Eiting)
My name is Al Razzo—that's R-A-Z-Z-O. It means "rockin'" in Italian! I live in Ka'anapali and I'm a syndicated columnist. I'm articulate, political—women adore me. My mother was a large Italian woman, a control freak who kept her thumb on me. I would try to do things in life, have other careers—she didn't like my stories. But she gave me the perspective I needed with my writing style: aggressive, bawdy and very opinionated. She kept me in a box and I bounced off the four walls of the box, which kept me tightly wound up. I was always in fights as a kid. She beat me with a horsewhip when I didn't behave, when I didn't do things her way. I never could fight back. When I got the opportunity to leave, I did and never looked back.
Jillian, the Artist
(played by Tiana Clark)
I'm a young artist who has made a name for myself on Maui, partially with the help of my famous local reporter boyfriend Al. Problem is, he's abusive. It took me a long time to realize I didn't need him in my life. Once I found strength, I got him out. Thankfully, I have good friends and we stuck together.
Bella, the Songstress
(played by Camille Romero)
I'm a jazz singer—sophisticated, spoiled and definitely used to having my way. I'm really after Al—I think he's sexy. His media connections are great. I wanna be out there, I wanna be known and he's the perfect person for that. Other people have problems handling his temper. I don't think that's going to be a problem for me.
Adam, the Drummer
(played by Michael Burke)
I'm Bella's boyfriend. We have a pretty comfortable relationship, slightly routine—it's pretty good. We're both artists. I'm her shadow; I back her up with drums while she sings. But lately, my relationship with Bella is getting strained. She has the hots for Al and is taking me for granted. Even though I don't come out and tell her, I try to express that in my drumming. Anyway, I've been giving Jill drum lessons. We get along pretty well. I'm also good friends with Kawika—we talk story all the time. Actually, he does most of the talking.
Kawika, the Actor
(played by Reid Yamamoto)
Well, I guess I'm a local improv actor. But I'm kinda the conscience of everyone. After the scenes, I recap in a sentence or a few words what they're thinking and feeling—especially Al needs my help. He has problems and is hurting my friends. I don't like conflict. I just want everyone to get along. Sometimes it gets too much and I get frustrated. I just want the world happy so we can all be happy.
Rhonda, the Playwright
(played by Julie Kawamura)
It's been interesting working with these people. All the actors and actresses are nice—I don't wanna say anything bad about them! Cecil is such a good director but sometimes he's scary. I watch him and he gets the actors to really see my characters. This is my first play and it's exciting to see it come to life. I wrote the screenplay because I had a friend who was abused. I guess I saw what a hard time she had and I thought it was really important for people to see they're not alone.
Cecil, the Director
(played by Dave Coennen)
Inside the Cloak is a story about transformation and control. The main character is Al Razzo. People consider him the anti-hero but he's really an everyman. He transforms from a brutal, egotistical bastard to a reticent and reformed man. This play is about his journey. The actors are a challenge, especially Kawika. Rhonda is a, uh, mediocre playwright. But I'm confident that with just the right amount of pressure from me, they're really gonna fly. MTW
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