Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives presents it’s highly popular Cemetery Pupu Theatre series with a new set of historical characters.
These programs are waaay cool.
Actors are dressed in period costume, telling the life events of select individuals buried at O‘ahu Cemetery, at their respective grave sites.
Each ‘stage’ is at the respective subject’s gravesite at Oʻahu Cemetery in Nuʻuanu. There was nothing ghoulish about it; rather, it was very effective storytelling.
Cemetery Pupu Theatre takes us back to our shared history and allows us to “meet” people who have influenced Hawaiian history and hear their stories.
The scripts are researched and documented, making Cemetery Pupu Theatre a unique presentation of real history.
“For the Sake of the Public Health” presents a series of people who were intimately involved with the health, care and welfare of the people of Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiʻi faced many public health crises and had many healthcare needs during the days of the Kingdom, the Republic and the Territory.
Each person has an interesting and important story to share that sheds light on the challenges faced by doctors and victims of disease.
They are: the first licensed female physician in the islands tending to the needs of women and children; a dentist turned politician; a doctor who dedicated his life to fight against the Great White Plague of Tuberculosis; a doctor who did leprosy research at Kalihi Leper Hospital; and a victim of the 1853 smallpox epidemic.
These people who shaped health care in our islands today, help us remember those who have gone before us were public servants, and witnessed history.
Dr Archibald Sinclair (portrayed by Richard Valasek,) the founding director of Lēʻahi Hospital and an important pioneer in immunology who sought a cure for Tuberculosis.
Haliʻa is a composite character (portrayed by Karen Kualana) who was a victim of the 1853 smallpox epidemic in which 6,000 people died, 8% of the Kingdom’s population.
Dr John Mott-Smith (portrayed by Adam LeFebvre,) Hawaiʻi’s first royal dentist, who also negotiated both Reciprocity Treaties and was the Kingdom’s last ambassador to the United States.
Dr Sarah Eliza Pierce Emerson (portrayed by Karen Valasek,) Hawaiʻi’s first licensed female doctor, who was on the Board of Examiners for the Oʻahu Insane Asylum.
Dr William L. Moore (portrayed by Dezmond Gilla,) a member of the board of Health and superintendent of the Hilo Hospital, and was involved in searching for a cure for Leprosy.
Mike Smola and others at Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives researched the scripts.
William Haʻo directed “For the Sake of the Public Health.” He has performed in Hawaiian Mission Houses’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as all four Cemetery Pupu Theatre shows.
Carlyon Wolfe was the costume designer. She is currently the staff designer for Mānoa Valley Theatre. She has earned four Hawaiʻi State Theatre Council Poʻokela design awards for her efforts.
This sold out program was presented in June 2014 (with an encore in 2015.) If you weren’t one of the fortunate ones to see it live, the links will take you to the respective performances.
Don’t miss the Cemetery Pupu Theatre, or any of the other great programs at Mission Houses. (Lots of info here from Mission Houses.)