TAG: From Kakaako to Chinatown to Iwilei
TAG — The Actors’ Group — has completed its move, from recebt walk-up Chinatown digs to first-floor Iwilei headquarters at Dole Cannery Square.
The vagabond theater group, known for its intimate playhouse space (for many years, at the Yellow Brick Theater), opens its fall season with “Duets,” premiering Friday (Aug. 27) at its new digs. It’s likely to be the most crucial move in TAG's 14-year history, with free validated parking, conveniently on the bus stop line, right in the heart of a movie theater destination already familiar to Island residents. You no longer need to seek street parking, trek in unknown turf in the dark of night and, well, fear uncertainty and queasiness.
“It was a unanimous decision by the board,” said Eric Nemoto, TAG board president, about the switcheroo. “The clincher was that the Dole location allows us to provide our audience with free validated parking in the Regal theaters parking lot directly across the street.”
While the same number of seats will be available, the Dole space provides TAG with valuable wiggle room — backstage space for costumes, dressing rooms, set design and more.
But location also brings prospects of a brighter future — with a partnership with the established Hawaii International Film Festival, which anchors its annual attraction at the Regal Cinema theaters across the street.
“We also expect to be able to partner with the Hawaii International Film Festival,” said Richard Tillotson, TAG board member. “We think there could be a lot of synergy. The people who attend films at HIFF are the kind of audience that should be attracted to our shows, and our theater will be right across the street.”
One thing that won’t change is the kind of shows we do,” said Brad Powell, TAG’s artistic director. “We are committed to doing unique, intimate, live theater. TAG is a nearly all-volunteer operation, so we’re able to do plays not because we have to, but because we want to.”
“We think their offerings of live theater that both challenges as well as entertains and goes on throughout the year will be very complementary to our festivals of challenging, entertaining films in the spring and fall,”
said Chuck Boller, executive diector of the Hawaii International Film Festival. “We welcome TAG to the neighborhood.”
Q&A ON TAG’S RELOCATION
Q: Why the move?
A: Better space, a more comfortable experience for audiences (especially the validated parking). Easy access, no hikes up a flight of stairs.
Q: What else is over there?
B: Regal Cinemas, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and Ballet Hawaii to name a few. The foot traffic with movie fans will open TAG to a potentially larger audience.
Q: Why abandon the Chinatown traffic?
A: TAG shows are a pretty unique experience. People come to TAG to see TAG shows, not because of anything the theater might be next to.
Q: What about the security over there?
A: Dole provides 24/7 security for the building; at least one security guard is always stationed right in front of the building no more than 20 feet from the entrance to the theater.
Q: Will TAG alter its show slate?
A: No. The plan is to continue unique, intimate, live theater, often the kind of shows other theaters in town can’t or don’t do. Word of mouth and a “retail location” with good street traffic — the moviegoers to Regal and HIFF — should help us a lot.
Q: Where can you eat dinner?
A: Wherever you eat dinner now. It’s less than a five-minute drive from Chinatown or Aloha Tower Marketplace to the new theater. Sam Choy’s and Zippy’s on Nimitz Highway are within walking distance. Other options: restaurants on the ewa side of Dole Cannery Square facing Costco, and a food court in Dole Cannery, which is going to be moving down into the space adjacent to the theater.
Q. Where is the theater exactly?
A. Enter the Regal parking lot Pacific Street one block ewa of Nimitz. (Make the turn at Hilo Hattie.) There’s a five-story covered parking lot with a sign “Regal Cinema Parking.” Find your way to the first floor, opposite the Regal location. An elevated pedestrian skyway provides access to Dole Cannery; once there, take the escalator down to the ground floor.
Q. Does TheBus go there?
A. Yes. There’s a stop directly in front of the theater.
A comedy by Peter Quilter
Opening Friday (Aug. 27), repeating 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 19
Tickets: $20 general, $15 seniors; $12 students, military and groups of 10 or more; all seats are $10 on Thursdays
Reservations: 722-6941, www.taghawaii.net
Director: David C. Farmer
Featuring: Allyson West, Richard Valasek, Ron Heller, Patrice Scott,Peter Clark, Karen Valasek,
Victoria Gail-White, John Wythe White