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Mr. Daniel A. Kelin, II "Shipwreck'd on the Body Beautiful"

By Mr. Daniel A. Kelin, II

The video shows a reading of a solo play that is still in development. The playwright and performer, Mr. Daniel A. Kelin, II, traveled to Pohnpei to share the play and receive feedback about the many cultural and geographic references. The play is loosely based on the life and performances of James F. O’Connell, an Irish sailor, who shipwrecked on Pohnpei in 1828 and stayed there for 11 years. When the play is completed, the author will present fully realized performance with music and a musician, dance, song, costuming and everything. The play is set to premiere in Honolulu, HI in January 2019. We would like to thank Daniel for allowing NGO Pasifika Renaissance Executive Director Takuya Nagaoka to film this play performed at the Pohnpei PREL Office on April 4, 2018 and share this video here.

“Those civilized might take a lesson from the humanity of these people to the shipwrecked.”
James F. O’Connell, or ‘J.O.’, is a one-time sailor turned vaudeville/circus performer who travels the country telling stories, dancing and singing about his shipwrecked adventures on the Pacific Island of Pohnpei, or ‘Bonabee’ as he calls it. J.O. has long enticed his audiences with bits of song and dance from both Ireland and Pohnpei, revealing little personal secrets and fascinating cultural insights that takes them on a journey of an outsider trying to fit into what is, for J.O., a strange and amazing culture. Now, after nearly twenty years of performing, J.O. feels himself facing the end of his once compelling career. His audiences have grown less shocked by his exotic ‘painted body,’ as J.O. himself has become less engaged with his sensationalized ‘savage’ adventures. Personifying all the other characters in his tale, J.O. seems to capture the self-wrought loneliness of a life caught between subterfuge and fame while challenging his listeners to consider what, truly, defines humanity. You can download his book "The Life and Adventures of James F. O’Connell, the Tattooed Man" (1845) (PDF, Kindle, EPUB, Torrent) from

Mr. Daniel A. Kelin II has directed, acted in and written plays performed in Asia, the Pacific and across the US ( He has had fellowships with Theatre for Young Audiences/USA and the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America and was the founding director of Cabaret Tiki, a playwright collective dedicated to writing and producing plays of five pages or less. His play "The Musical (Mis)Adventures of Goopy and Bagha" was honored by a children’s theatre in Arizona and performed in South India. "Sing a Porpoise Home" received a staged reading at NYU and won the Aurand Harris Playwriting award of the New England Theatre Conference. "Donnie Q: Knight of the Third Grade" was the winner of the Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest. Honolulu Theatre for Youth has produced many of his plays, including "Keiko and Louie: Best Best Friends (Mostly)" and "…and the people spoke music", which earned two Rockefeller grants for development and touring to its place of origin, the Marshall Islands.