By Wayne Harada
After 14 years with “Stomp,” Islander Ivan Delaforce has figured out why the off-Broadway show remains popular — in New York and on tour. It’s all about the beat, the tempo, the movement, the sound.
“Everybody can do rhythm, even if they think they have none,” said Delaforce, 40, about the lingering fascination of the percussion-heavy show, now playing at his old stomping grounds, the Hawai’i Theatre, for another holiday run through Jan. 3.
“It’s kinda subliminal, how it all works, even if you’ve seen it before,” he said. “So amazing; we can play all kinds of music with different things. And the show has no language, so everyone understands it. We bang on things; there’s noise; it’s music. It’s somewhat tribal; that’s the genius of the show’s creators, Steve (McNicholas) and Luke (Creswell). They found objects; trash cans, hammer handles, brooms to make rhythm.”
“Stomp!” has been Delaforce’s stomping grounds since 1995 and he’s particularly thrilled to come home to his stomping grounds to strut his stuff again.
“I guess I’m the long-timer,” he said of his tenure. “I’m lucky to be able to come to this one. I’m based in Las Vegas, where I was able to help originate a role in ‘Stomp Out Loud,’ a spin-off of ‘Stomp,’ but ‘Stomp’ has been my life. Actually, I haven’t been on tour since October; but the tour needed help, because of the (holiday) schedule. Hey, Hawai’i is home — and I get to spend Christmas with family.”
The troupe normally numbers 12; he’s the 13th. Usually, eight take the stage and the cast rotates this way, allowing everyone spotlight and down time.
Delaforce was chatting long-distance from Los Angeles, where he was doing a gig with a friend on tour, who was to be on the Jay Leno show this particular night.
The touring show includes a couple of new numbers, said Delaforce. One involves paint cans, metal cans and buckets; the other, inner tubes, called “Doughnuts.”
Old numbers are usually tweaked, so there are fresh flavors and moves in the production, but the garbage cans are usually the “Stomp!” trademark.
He has obvious affection for the Vegas show, which was designed exclusively for the Sin City audience, and it twice as large as the usual “Stomp”-ede. “There were some numbers that could be done there, since this was a sit-down (permanent) show, and there was a spectacular big cardboard box number, with 16 people on stage, plus a number called ‘Waterphonics,’ with a big fishtank that lit up; we had bungee cords, tied with metal pipes, that made different sounds when moved in water. It was exciting to be part of the creative process of this show.”
It’s possible that the Vegas show might reopen next summer, he said, so he has options to return.
Sure, he’s had his share of show-related injuries. “It’s very physical; I’ve hurt my back, from wear and tear,” he said. “Those 55-gallon oil drums are heavy, 35 or 45 lbs. each. That got my back out during the first two years. But everyday blisters, pulled hamstrings, whatever.” In Vegas, he was out for a month due to hip issues.
“Stomp” has been his ticket across America and to parts of Europe, from Iceland to Italy. For two months, Delaforce also toured Tokyo and other Japan ports.
“This is a good way to see the world,” he said. “While in Hawai’i, I gotta recruit; bring more locals out to auditions.”
Delaforce was a serious surfer before he became a Stomper, so he suspects he’ll be checking out the waves while here.
“When I got into music, and then, ‘Stomp,” I lost my tan,” he said.
Does the production disallow the performers to indulge in such endeavors as surfing, to maintain stability in the company?
“Never used to be, considering the crazy stuff that Luke, one of the original Stompers, who used to skydiving or snowboarding, some kind of extreme sport.”
He’s a dad: “Nainoa was born last May 20 and he’ll get to spend his first Christmas in Hawai’i. He’s not hitting anything yet, but he uses his voice — he screams.”
He’s got buddies: “For the first time, there are three local aguys in this show. We first met in the Las Vegas ‘Stomp’ show, and what’s interesting is that we all grew up in the Salt Lake-Moanalua-Aliamanu area. I grew up in Foster Village; Andres “Pooh” Fernandez, went to Radford, and I think he was from the Salt-Lake Moanalua area; Guillaume Carreira lived in Kane’ohe for a while, but has family in Salt Lake-Moanalua.”
His must-do’s: “I gotta find a board to surf; can’t do that in Vegas. That’s after I have Zippy’s chili, of course.”
His roots realization: “If you’re from Hawai’i, it’s all a measure of who you know and where you wen ‘ grad. It’s trippy; I only realized this recently that where you went high school really matters. I’m a Damien grad.”
8 p.m. today-Saturday, Monday-Jan. 2; 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 2-3;
7 p.m. Sunday and Jan. 3.