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The Descendants, Maui-Style

Fringe Theater Festival to include locally written play, “John Brown’s Body,” which stars Maui cast member who is also Brown’s descendant.

January 17, 2013
The Maui Weekly

"John Brown's Body," a play by Maui writer Will Hausman, will be performed Saturday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. as part of the Maui Fringe Theater Festival 2013 at Wailuku's Historic 'Iao Theater. Tickets are $10 and are available through the theater box office.

Paul Janes-Brown, a descendant of John Brown, will star in the title role in this play based on the life of the famous pre-Civil War abolitionist.

One of history's most controversial and misunderstood characters, John Brown is best known as a religiously inspired man who fought and died in an effort to abolish slavery, which he believed to be a crime against God and humanity.

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Maui’s Paul Janes-Brown, a descendant of John Brown, will star in the title role in this play based on the life of the famous pre-Civil War abolitionist.

In the late 1850s, Brown and his ragtag guerrilla group embarked on a righteous crusade against slavery that was carried out with shocking violence. His capture and execution in 1859 set off a chain of events that directly led to the American Civil War.

The play takes place in his jail cell in the predawn hours before he is to be hanged.

"I tried to create a personal, full-bodied characterization of Brown; portraying him more as a multidimensional and fallible human being as opposed to the historical depiction of him as a religious fanatic, madman, murderer and martyr," said playwright Hausman. "I tried to depict him as he might see himself, as opposed to what the historians later judged him to be."

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A graduate of Kenyon College, Hausman is the author of five full-length screenplays and numerous projects for film and television.

Janes-Brown, a well-known Maui actor, director, broadcaster and writer, can trace his lineage to John Brown's brother, Peter.

Janes-Brown has a long list of theater credits as well as an impressive career in the nonprofit sector.

Currently, he does on-camera work for MauiTVNews.com and writes features and reviews for the Maui Weekly, The Lahaina News and OnMaui Magazine.

Another Maui resident, Jim Loomis, a direct descendant of Brown, is the author of "Tales and Flukes from Life in the Trees, Fractal One of Saving the Cosmos ('til Tuesday)." His book "Strangefluke" won the Best Overall Award at the 1994 Maui Writers Conference.

For tickets and more information, contact the 'Iao Theater Box Office, 68 N. Market St. in Wailuku, at (808) 242-6969 or www.mauionstage.com.

 
 

 

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