‘As One’ Opera: A moving take on gender identity

  • Rahzé Cheatham (Hannah Before) and Amanda Staub (Hannah After) performed during the second running of “As One” Saturday amid the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. (Steve Roby/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Ashley Armstrong (as Hannah After) holds Evan Bravos (as Hannah Before) during a performance Saturday of “As One” amid the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. (Steve Roby/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Saturday night’s cast featured Evan Bravos (as Hannah Before) and Ashley Armstrong (as Hannah After). (Steve Roby/Special to West Hawaii Today)

This year’s Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) theme is “A Season of Self-Discovery” and that was reflected in last weekend’s two performances of “As One,” a story about Hannah, a young transgender woman. Through 15 songs and a three-part narrative, the opera reveals Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years, and then traveling to Norway.