Saturday, July 28, 2012
Act One opens with a chant, written originally in Hawaiian by a composer and hula master who contracted leprosy and died at the Kalaupapa settlement on Moloka‘i. “Song of the Chanter Ka-‘ehu” begins:
What will become of Hawai‘i?
What will leprosy do to our land—
disease of the despised, dreaded alike
by white or brown or darker-skinned?
Strange when a man’s neighors
become less than acquaintances.
Seeing me they drew away.
They moved to sit elsewhere, whispering,
and a friend pointed a finger:
“He is a leper.”
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