Monday, February 05, 2007

Naupaka, and a Ramble

I saw Naupaka last night - Peter Rockford Espiritu's Hawaiian opera, based on the doomed love of the ali`i Naupaka and the kauā ‘Ōhikimakalo. It was a powerful and beautiful piece, & one that it is still being developed.

It was also a great way to end a mediocre weekend - one that reminded me of what was good about Hawai`i [and yet, even then ... a significant and innovative work plays for one Sunday night, while plays by Pat Sajak - I kid you not - play for five. I just can't escape my cynicism these days].

The story was made for opera. Peter started out with the birth of Naupaka, blessed by the gods. The second scene moves to a kauā family. The kauā were outcasts and slaves, used for human sacrifice. ‘Ōhiki's mother dies in childbirth. Her father, before killing himself in despair, turns the child over to the blind grandmother saying "you know what to do" - i.e., kill the baby.

Up to this point the opera was erratic. I could appreciate it intellectually, but it wasn't hitting home emotionally or physically. The sets were confusing [I thought ‘Ōhiki's mother was a sea monster for awhile, before realizing that she just had really bad hair], and the transitions were jumpy. But the grandmother's first aria, when she was preparing to sacrifice the child &, at the last moment, decided to shelter her and keep her alive, was magnificent.

The whole night was like that. Each individual scene was great, and some were absolutely fantastic. Yet it almost felt like a greatest hits review - we got all the high points, but missed a lot of the story that held them together. But it's a work in progress, and last night I saw the framework of a masterpiece.

So that was that. Every time I'm ready to throw in the towel & quit Hawai`i I stumble on something that reminds me of why I'm here, of what we have that no one else does. But I still don't know. I talked to Paulo yesterday, and he made a good point - I've been orphaned here. As in - one by one almost all of my closest friends and lovers have left the islands. Each year brings new goodbyes.

That, and the post-35 dating pool is tragic. I've met a lot of wonderful tourists and seasonal residents, but haven't had a single substantive date with someone who actually lives here since Roy and I broke up.

Which - damn. Now that I see that in hard cold letters it's just depressing. I was kicking myself earlier for living for vacations, for spending so much mental energy planning weekends in Paris and İstanbul when my life was here. But I gave it a go, and wandered this city from one end to the other this weekend, and though it was always pleasant [except for when I tried to go dancing at Fusions ... the music sucked and the crowd tired ... and Angles was the same drunks as always ... and Hulas was dominated by stocky guys with shaved heads and goatees who tended to close ranks when anyone got near them who didn't look exactly like they did ... so ok, the weekend wasn't always pleasant, not at all] nothing excited me.

And equally depressing - I don't know where I'd go. Most of America just doesn't appeal to me. I used to love San Francisco, but the City today - at least the gay portion - is stressed out and tense. The guys I know there aren't happy. San Diego sounds nice - but everyone I know who moved there also left. New York is amazing, but even Manahattan is turning into an island for rich trust fund kids. I can't afford the rent. I like people in LA ... go figure ... but hate hate hate traffic.

Europe, though ... Europe could work ...

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