by Brett Aresco
Let's get this thing goin- you ready?
Walking in the rain and about to get on a train-- fuck it. Let's do it.
That's the spirit. Hometown?
When you were a kid, who was your biggest role model?
I had disasters for heroes
I'm too old to still have heroes, I guess, but giants like Haunani-Kay Trask get me fired up today. When I was a kid, Sunny Garcia and Keoni Downing made me go for things a bit out of my reach, and so when I was in college, I was always swimming upstream against the unwritten rule that certain roles were meant for certain people (or white roles). I guess it was just understood that people like me don't get to play those parts, but I still wanted to compete for them. Those were the only good roles. Around that same time, back in late 2002, I remember watching Andy Irons win his first world title (through a shitty internet connection), taking something major that was never meant for him. The way he just took it, didn't ask for it, he fucking took that shit— I saw that. And then he did it again, and again— that changed me. I wanted those roles. And I still do. But I'm not asking for them. I want to take them.
Right on. Wanna give the folks out there a little bio on Andy Irons for comparison's sake?
Andy Irons was a surfer from Hawaiʻi. 3X World Champ. Raised by a hungry pack of Hawaiians— lol a wolfpak you could even say. He was so raw. They all were. So punk. Very full range of emotions. If Andy felt something, everyone would see it. The good and bad. Surfing was all Kelly Slater (Or Michael Jordan for comparison’s sake). The title was for Kelly— he's the American, after all. The rightful heir to surfing's leading man role. It was all Kelly’s. Andy was just a brash kid from Kauai. Loud. In your face. Fucking live grenade ready to blow at any moment. Andy just flipped that switch and said, "fuck you, I'm taking this." And of course media painted him and all of his Hawaiian friends as the bad guy to Kelly's Jedi good guy bullshit, but that's a whole other dumb story.
Switching gears: favorite genre of movie?
Invisibility or flight?
Airs. Big ones. See me fly.
What's your least favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint. Anything mint.
Complete this sentence: I feel naked without _________.
My mediocrity repellent
Sand on my toes
Congratulations, Keola- you've just been named President of the United States. What is your first act?
Name Elizabeth Warren as Veep and then immediately resign.
One last question before we let you get ready for the last two performances of the smash-hit New York Premiere of LA Lights Fire by Eric Czuleger: what is enlightenment?
L.A. Lights Fire, 4 years ago, really was my way of being honest in my relationship with theatre. I had 2 full years of NYC stage under me and I was over it. Uninspired. I wanted out. Out of New York. Out of everything. LALF was my last chance to prove to myself that what I'm looking for is real-- that it exists. And those first shows we did back in 2011 in CA, did that for me. I was new and fully charged and back then that was enlightening. It was magic and I'm forever grateful for the 4-year journey it's led me on since. The relationships that formed because of it. Seeing new faces get a crack at it. The audiences. All of that is on my mind these last couple weeks.
I know I'm wrapping up an unexpected 4-year love affair. I know it brought me back and kept me in the game. Knowing it's ending, knowing it's time to move on... That's enlightenment. It's not some big dramatic self-realization. It's knowing when the party's over.