UH West Oʻahu CLEAR director's book becomes live theater production

University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu
Julie Funasaki Yuen, (808) 454-4870
Public Information Officer, Public Relations and Marketing Department
Posted: May 5, 2010

The Hilo Massacre
The Hilo Massacre
Honolulu’s Kumu Kahua Theatre is producing The Hilo Massacre, a play based on UH West O‘ahu Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) Director and Professor Dr. William Puette’s book about the terrible events of Aug. 1, 1938. The play, written by the late Tremayne Tamayose, infuses historical events with personal stories of workers, police and politicians.
Dr. Puette’s book The Hilo Massacre: Hawai‘i’s Bloody Monday recounts the day more than 200 Big Island men and women belonging to different labor unions including longshoremen, warehousemen, teamsters, garbage collectors, quarry workers and the ladies auxiliary, expressed their solidarity with striking workers in Honolulu, and attempted peacefully to demonstrate against the arrival of a ship from O‘ahu. They were met by a force of more than 70 police officers who tear-gassed, hosed and fired riot guns into the crowd. Fifty unarmed demonstrators were shot or bayoneted.
Tamayose's teleplay was originally produced in 1989 for the PBS labor history series Rice and Roses under the title Brothers Under the Skin. The Kumu Kahua Theatre is bringing it to the theatrical stage for the first time. The Hilo Massacre will run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. in May and June and runs on select Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.kumukahua.org/plays.html.
Dr. Puette is the publishing editor for a Hawaiian labor history series and author of numerous labor-related booklets. To read his book or see the 30 minute 1986 documentary about the Hilo Massacre, visit the CLEAR eLibrary web page at http://clear.uhwo.hawaii.edu.