They say that art imitates life, and truth can be stranger than fiction. The line between fiction and reality will be blurred this weekend, as the challenges facing young women today will take center stage at 'Iao Theater. If You Love Me is a stirring and thought-provoking stage play that will debut this Friday, Oct. 14, with performances scheduled through Monday, Oct. 17.
Written by local playwright Keali'iwahine Hokoana, directed by Derek Nakagawa and performed by a cast of local actors, this original play depicts a journey of "learning to love and to be loved, despite love's imperfect nature."
If You Love Me is sponsored by Women Helping Women and Talking Stories Maui, a nonprofit organization that promotes the perpetuation and preservation of Hawaiian culture through the performing arts.
The timing of the play is no coincidence. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and If You Love Me is just one of several events throughout Maui County that will shine a spotlight on domestic violence and other forms of oppression against individuals, especially women and girls.
"National Domestic Violence Awareness Month gives Women Helping Women an opportunity to take it up a notch, to educate the community about the impacts of domestic violence on everyone, not just the women we serve," said Women Helping Women Executive Director Stacey Moniz. "It's an opportunity to remind folks that this could-and does-happen to women we know."
Why is this month of awareness so significant? Just take a look at the statistics: Across the U.S., a woman is beaten by her intimate partner every 15 seconds. "The numbers are staggering," Moniz said. "I invite everyone who cares to get involved in some way."
Awareness is one first step toward ending the cycle of violence, and all residents-especially local youth-can gain perspective with If You Love Me. I, for one, hope to see the curtain fall on domestic violence-for good.
If You Love Me will premiere on Friday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a matinee performance on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m., and Monday, Oct. 17, at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door. To purchase your tickets, call Women Helping Women at (808) 242-6600 or visit www.mauionstage.com to purchase online.
For more information about Women Helping Women and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month events taking place in Maui County, visit www.whwmaui.net.