They’re Back

Waikiki was once again a sea of flashing smart phones and boisterous fans at Five-0‘s fifth season premiere Sept. 13. Folks who flew in from as far as Japan, Germany, Australia and Ireland camped on the beach overnight to secure frontline seating, and got the first peek at the episode that the rest of the world will view Sept. 26. Expect more full-throttle action, adrenaline and verbal bandying in this episode’s tribute to Waikiki. Remaining cutting edge, it throws in drones, terrorists and a jet plane cruising down Kalakaua Avenue.

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Elvira (Kyle Scholl, left) and Ruth (Karissa J. Murrell Myers, right) face off over Charles (Timothy Callais) in Kennedy Theatre's 'Blithe Spirit'
PHOTO BY CHESLEY CANNON

Meanwhile, on the red carpet:

Nope, it’s not Lost II. Jorge Garcia appears as a Five-0 regular this season, playing a tech-savvy conspiracy theorist. He has again holed up on the Windward side, and smiles broadly on the red carpet, sighing that it’s good to be home. It appears the locals are protective of their resident star. He says a friend once asked people on the street for directions, but taking him for a nosy fan they wouldn’t divulge Garcia’s address. We’ve got you covered, Jorge.

Scott Caan says he’d camp out on the beach for a day or two with fans … if only there was air conditioning. He is jaunty and carefree in his aloha shirt while most are in heavy suits, wiping at their brows.

Executive producer Peter Lenkov mentions that Carol Burnett is returning this season and tells A&S exclusively that Terry O’Quinn just signed a deal to return as well. He blames the bounty of Lost celebrities speckling his show on the draw of the Islands.

“They’re so hooked on Hawaii,” he says. “They’re the ones coming to us.”

As for upping the ante this season: “It’s all about reinventing yourself,” he says. “It’s got to be familiar, and it’s got to change up. We have a lot of new characters and changing storylines. We’re keeping it fresh.”

Alex O’Loughlin says he’s just completed his 100th episode (“I get tortured. You’ll see, it’s awful”) and jokes that his toddler Lion Kahano is already “a badass surfer,” like dad.

Always a character, he has a creative way of tellingA&S, in his Aussie accent, that Hawaii is rather feeling like home: “I’ve always been a little displaced, but I’ve got to tell you, these islands, this phenomenon that bubbled out of the sea 40 million years ago, it’s in many ways as close to my heart and soul as Australia is.”

Grace Park, stunning in Versace, responds to Lenkov’s assertion that O’Loughlin’s dedication and hard work literally show in the bruises he comes to work with day after day.

“I’m the one giving him the bruises,” she quips.

There’s no ominous theme music when Wo Fat’s Mark Dacascos shows up, because it turns out he’s the friendliest “bad guy” on the planet.

Intoxicating waves of maile and pikake waft through the air. As everyone finds a seat, 100 hula dancers pay graceful tribute to the 100th episode currently being filmed. Speeches are made. And then the giant outdoor screen lights up and the theme song’s bold, pounding tempo, recognized ’round the world, pumps out over the electrified crowd … Da Da Da Da Da Dahhh!

ALSO SHOWING
A Proper, Ghostly Comedy

And now for something completely different … as Monty Python would say. A man’s domestic felicity is in trouble when a medium accidentally summons the man’s first wife from the afterworld in Blithe Spirit at Kennedy Theatre (Oct. 3-12, hawaii.edu/kennedy). Director Paul Mitri, UH professor and chairman of the theater and dance department, took a moment to chat with A&S about the production:

Blithe Spirit is set in 1941. Do you do anything to update it?

If I tried to update it, we’d probably end up with ghosts (laughs). The way Downton Abbey hits a chord with American audiences, I don’t think people will look at Blithe Spirit and go, ‘Oh, it’s British, it’s not our time period’ and feel a disconnect. The beauty of the language, and the wittiness of (playwright) Noel Coward is like Shakespeare. It’s timeless.

What can you tell us about the cast?

I’ve got a great crop of MFA students right now. This was the kind of thing they needed to work on because they hadn’t studied mannered comedy yet.

We have seven actors and five of them are MFA students.

What can the audience expect?

There’s a great line in the very first scene where they’re waiting for everybody to show up and Ruth, the second wife, says, “It’s going to be awful,” and Charles says, “It’ll probably be funny, but not awful.” I think Noel Coward is telling the audience this is what’s going to happen tonight.

Blithe Spirit is really funny. But part of that is knowing how to play this language. It’s similar to (George Bernard) Shaw. A lot of people can’t articulate the difference between a very broad farce and this kind of mannered comedy. If you just do it big and farcical, it’s not funny. So the students have to work doubly hard to know the intention for their lines and understand the music behind the lines. I’ve seen productions of Coward, but especially Blithe Spirit, fall apart when people act too soap opera-y.

It’s basically about downplaying the humor?

It’s all in the language. Instead of slapstick, it’s verbal slapstick.