High-flying kicks, ultra-skilled weaponry, iron torsos that, even while lying on a bed of nails, withstand the impact of a hammer breaking through a brick – it’s the Shaolin Warriors. In Voices of the Masters, their third appearance in Hawaii, they offer an adrenaline-spiked show of acrobatic agility and assortment of feats that defy human endurance.
The 22 Buddhist masters coming to Hawaii Theatre will display kung fu rooted in tradition that goes back 1,500 years. They begin their training as young as age 4, which means leaving their parents to live in a dormitory setting where they study with students from around the world. Two featured young performers in Voices who have no problem holding their own among the veterans are just 12.
“The Shaolin performers train in martial arts for several hours every day, perfecting the art of hand-to-hand and weapons combat,” says producer Zhang Yu of China Performing Arts Agency Productions. “Each performer is required to achieve an extraordinarily high level of proficiency in each of the 18 traditional weapons, and to become a master of one.
“However, it is the daily practice of seated meditation which enables the individual performer to sustain a demanding physical regimen. Through a practice known as Ch’an (Zen), they calm the body and focus the mind to a single collected point in order to attain a mental state known as Samadhi, or complete mental absorption. It is in this quiet yet highly focused state of mind that they are able to sustain extreme physical discomfort and pain that enables them to undergo the intense daily training required to achieve and maintain the level of adeptness for which they are so highly praised.”
Hawaii promoter Tim Bostock calls the show the “most authentic of any international touring martial arts show,” and promises it will be “highly entertaining for the whole family!”
VOICES OF THE MASTERS
When: Sept. 26-30, Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30, Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday at 2 p.m.
Where: Hawaii Theatre
Cost: $30-$60 ($10 discount for Theatre members, seniors, students, military, keiki; all tickets Sept. 26 are $35)
What better subject to portray at a watercolor art show than real H20? Hawaii’s liquid-prone environment lent plenty of inspiration to the Hawaii Watercolor Society’s (hawaiiwatercolorsociety.org) fall exhibit. Take, for instance, three of the works being displayed. In Can-dace Fernander’s stormy Stay Close Now, a stately swan guides her five cygnets over choppy aquamarine waters, away from a gathering of foreboding clouds. In contrast, Pamela Hayes’ Bamboo is a study in crystalline stillness: A golden bamboo trunk beautified by streaks of green rises from a shallow pebble-strewn pool, with a floating open-petaled plumeria and just a few meditative ripples lining the pond’s calm surface. The third, Leafy Seadragon by Judy Aveiro, makes for pleasurable viewing with the titled sunshiny aquatic creature set against a turquoise and wine-hued sea.
A total of 87 pieces (out of 200 submitted) by 70 artists will be on exhibit in the Sept. 25 to Oct. 19 juried show, with an awards reception Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. In honor of the society’s 50th anniversary – it was founded by celebrated Hawaii artist Hon Chew Hee – special events are planned for the reception.
“We will have artists painting on the grounds, coconut (fortune) readings by HWS members and live music provided by Shoji Ledward, one of the best jazz guitarists and ukulele players on the island,” says spokeswoman Carol Shibata.
“This annual exhibition will showcase the best in watercolor paintings from both HWS members and non-members,” she adds. “Watercolor is often heralded as a difficult medium, but it is actually easy to learn the basics, while years can be spent mastering the techniques. The quality of the paints, colors and papers used today make it archival quality and highly collectible.”
Viewing is free and hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sun-day, 1-5 p.m., at Honolulu Museum of Art School Main Gallery (formerly Linekona, 1111 Victoria St.)