A Thrilling Hangout

Getting out and about in the past six years means at some point you’ve seen the aerial dancers of Samadhi Hawaii entombing themselves in a swath of hanging cloth and then suddenly breaking free from the cocoon, spinning through the air in a furious, falling cartwheel. They’re usually suspended from a ceiling … or a tree — or even from the crossbeams of a stage, but generally as another show’s guest artists. For the first time ever, Samadhi is gearing up for its own feature show in a traditional theater setting.


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An aerial dancer with Samadhi Hawaii. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMADHI HAWAII

The show, “Samadhi Live,” celebrates 10 years since the company first got its start on Maui. Brazilian-born director Andrea Torres moved the modest troupe to Oahu in 2008, and folks flocked to get a feel for twirling vertically in the air.

“Samadhi has grown a lot,” says Torres. “We now have a school, a professional company, a youth company and an aerial burlesque company as our sister company. We perform professionally as well as in the community. We create our own shows as well as perform in other people’s shows, and we have student showcases twice a year.”

The troupe also has performed abroad as far as Japan, Indonesia, Fiji and Brazil. Samadhi is about more than hanging cloths, called tissu or silks. Instruction in trapeze, aerial hoop, hammock, flexibility, precision acrobatics and hula hoop is conducted by 11 teachers and eight assistants, filling up 44 cirque classes per week with up to 200 students total. Students from the Samadhi school audition into the youth and adult performance groups.

Men and women of all ages and expertise will be showing off the best of Samadhi at its big 1-0. Guest dancers include a family-friendly piece from Volary Aerial Burlesque. Supplying live music will be ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner, Na Hoku Award-winning vocalist Starr Kalahiki, composer and instrumentalist John Signor, taiko drummer Mike Gonhata, harpist Sharene Taba and more.

the TICKET stub

When: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20
Where: Mamiya Theatre
Cost: $35-$45
More Info: 683-6080, samadhihawaii.com

TAG Delivers Brainy Romp

Despite a collusion of literary references and being themed after Chekhov, you don’t have to know a thing about Chekhov and his cherry orchards, brooding Russian intellect and the portending loss of a family estate to enjoy TAG’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (through Oct. 5, 722-6941). Those who are familiar will get an overall kick out of the parallel between Chekhov’s Three Sisters and the three American siblings in the play, and the fact that they all have Russian names, including “Uncle Vanya” — blame that on the characters’ university professor parents.

You don’t even have to know about playwright Christopher Durang and his scenes with lengthy dialogue that takes sudden turns, his ranting monologues and penchant for absurdism to realize what you’re getting into. Nor must you know about Greek tragedies and their omniscient seers.

In other words, this is a literary production, where on one hand you have a molecule (yes) played with peachiness by Jasmin Please as Nina, and on the other, a show-stealing Nick Freitas as Spike, jumping at any chance to strip to his undies, much to the delight of his has-been movie star sugar mama (Patrice Scott as Masha), her dour, gay brother (David Starr as Vanya) and their frumpy, adopted sister (Becky Maltby as Sonia) who yearns for excitement.

Generally Vanya and Sonia sit around complaining about their stodgy lot, enlivened only by a blue heron that occasionally visits their yard, and an over-the-top soothsayer in Kati Kuroda as maid Cassandra. That is, until diva Masha and loverboy Spike come crashing onto the scene, igniting jealousies and unusual character transformations from Sonia and Vanya. Nina and Spike (Freitas, a minor league baseball player and model in his debut acting role — believe me, with his Disney-prince charm and never-ending dimples, not to mention a physique that’s mighty comfortable nearly bare, you’ll want to know who he is and where he came from), shine with youthful beauty as much as the aging siblings do in their briny intellectual contemplations.