When putting on a production like HOUSE OF JOY, written by Madhuri Shekar a story about elite female bodyguards, a palace intrigue, and swordfights in 17th century India that is full of swashbuckling, and action-adventure! San Diego Repertory Theatre has made sure the cast is full of people who can bring that action and adventure and one of those is the talented Ka’imi Kuoha.
Ka’imi is a multi-talented martial artist, gymnast, singer, dancer, and gym owner. She has been training in martial arts since she could walk and began her acting career at 2 years old. It’s this blend of martial and performing arts that makes her the perfect person to be a performer and fight captain for this show.
For any show, a fight captain is an important role, but especially in a show which has swords involved in the fighting. How does Ka’imi explain what this pivotal role does in a production?
A Fight Captain is the Fight Director’s assistant. Since the Fight Director isn’t present for all rehearsals and isn’t around for the whole run of the show, the Fight Captain is vital not only in keeping the actors safe but also keeping the integrity of the fight director’s work.
My greatest joy has been to work with this amazing cast and to be part of the evolution of the fight choreography from the original concept to how each scene will play out on stage for our audiences.
Having worked on projects from stage to screen, and along with this fun and female-focused adventure story, there was one other reason that made Ka’imi want to be a part of this production.
It’s no secret that the statistics for women in theater can be grim, especially when it comes to female playwrights, directors, and designers. My main mission is to empower women through movement and self-defense, so when I received a call from the San Diego Rep’s producer Kim Hiel and learned that the playwright and co-director were both female, along with 7 of the 9 cast members, I was in!
There are so many memorable moments in HOUSE OF JOY that Ka’imi has a hard time picking a favorite, but there is one moment that she feels resonates with her, and hopefully with audiences, into everyday life as well.
There are so many great moments in this show. I’d have to say a speech given by one of the soldiers when she’s forced to lead the regiment and grows into her own power. The words are so inspiring to hear while on stage and also to carry with me in my everyday life as a female leader.
What can people look forward to experiencing when seeing this show?
To sum it up, this show is pure action and adventure, with powerful female leads. The sacred traditions explored in this play are what have kept the story out of the mainstream, and it’s a fascinating exploration of this little known historical period. This play not only centers on the female narrative, but it also does it while being wildly entertaining.
PS come for the fight scenes! 😉
HOUSE OF JOY is playing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre March 5th – March 29th. For ticket and showtime information go to www.sdrep.org
For more reviews on SD Rep shows click here