HIFF: T-Shirt Theatre Presets Kipuka

HONOLULU – (October 25, 2018) T-Shirt Theatre proudly announces the premiere of “T-Shirt Theatre presents: Kīpuka”, a feature-length documentary making its world premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival in November. “T-Shirt Theatre presents: Kīpuka” is an anti-bullying project that addresses bullying, cyberbullying, and teen suicide prevention – written and performed by the students (aged 13-18) at T-Shirt Theatre, a performing company based in Farrington High School. Their stories, which are performed live in front of over 1,200 of their peers in a packed Farrington High School auditorium, are drawn from personal life experiences and are 100% original.

Directed and produced by T-Shirt Theatre alum Jeremiah Tayao, the documentary is a behind the scenes look at the program and gives insight into how the lives of its participants are changed. The film is an extension of the ongoing “Kīpuka” project that takes on a variety of perspectives on bullying like cyber-bullying, self-bullying, being a bystander to bullying, confronting abusive relationships, and even taking the bully’s perspective. “Kīpuka” demonstrates how positive safe spaces and influences like family and community can help counteract the effects of bullying.

Founded by George Kon and the late Walt Dulaney in 1985 at Farrington High School, T-Shirt Theatre has long been a kīpuka itself for many generations of students, deep in the heart of Kalihi, Oʻahu. In the story, rehearsal, and performance process, the students are taught to rehearse for life – acquiring important life skills that they will be able to apply to life beyond the stage.

The screenings are Saturday, November 10th at 1:15 p.m. and Monday, November 12th at 2:45 p.m. and are both playing Regal Cinemas Dole Cannery 18.

Tickets are available at https://www.hiff.org/films-and-events-fall-2018/view/t_shirt_theatre_presents_kipuka_2018

[respect] 2.0

T-shirt Theatre (TST) is a proud collaborator with the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) and Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) in mobilizing Respect 2.0 into high school classrooms around the state. Respect 2.0 is a dramatic interactive presentation that takes students through the cell phone and text messages of young people that were involved in an actual incident of sexual violence. Maile Holck, Nathaniel Niemi, and our Senior Teaching Artist Jonah Moananu take Respect 2.0 into classrooms to start relevant and powerful conversations on consent and recognizing factors of sexual violence. In 2017 the Respect campaign reached thousands of high schoolers all over the state and was recognized by the city and county of Honolulu for the “dedication and commitment to prevent sexual violence in Hawai‘i.”

TST has supported and hosted workshops at the yearly [respect] rally at Tenney Theatre. HTY and SATC invites students that have had the [respect] 2.0 presentation to participate in a 3 hour gathering that ends with a performance. Students get to to choose from a variety of art workshops led by art professionals. After an hour and a half of workshop and dinner, students from each workshop take the stage with their new mentors to present their work and process. TST is always a strong student presence at the rally, but our Directors also hold Drama, Improv, and Rap workshops, as well emcee the event.

Expect Respect

This program is a 45-minute theatrical performance and discussion about sexual violence prevention created for middle school aged students. The play is made up of short vignettes that focus on the importance of respecting boundaries and empowering students to create a safe community through informed action. The program is an outreach program co-created by the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC), T-Shirt Theatre and Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY).

Fall 2017: Masters of the Currents

TST musical director, Jonah Moananu, participated as Masters of the Currentssound designer for the TeAda and HTY production of “Masters of the Currents.” The production played two weeks to private and public school students at Tenney Theatre, as well as two weekends for the public.

“I really appreciated getting to learn a new skill set of theatre. It was fun getting to expand the use of my imagination to score an entire show. Thanks to the HTY teams tutelage and directions they helped me learn on the job.” George Kon and Jonah Moananu have spent two years with TeAda Directors Leilani Chan and and Ova Saopang (TST alumn) in story gathering for this show, and it was an honor that we could be represented in its world premier!

Global Youth Leadership Program

During the summer of 2015, a group of Japanese students participating in the Global Youth Leadership Program visited Hawai’i in order to experience international culture and attend leadership workshops provided by University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s East West Center.

T-Shirt Theatre was invited to perform “With Their Voices Raised” as well as hold a workshop in order to help the students break out of their shells since the students knew minimal English. Even with the language barrier, the use of theatre conveyed the necessary messages and themes. T-Shirt Theatre came again several more times to hold additional workshops to help the students with communication skills and attended their final showcase at the end of the program.

With Their Voices Raised

Dr. Patricia Liehr, Professor of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, gave a speech at Farrington High School which led to a chance conversation with Lt. Colonel David Carlson about TST and “With Their Voices Raised.” It was comprised of Interviews with survivors of both Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor, that were collected not as a research paper but as a dramatic presentation. Since Farrington served as a clinic during the war, Patricia wondered if there was a drama group on campus that could handle such serious material and premiere the show in Hawaii. She learned about T-Shirt Theatre.

Composed solely of selected verbatim monologues from both sides of the Pacific War, this important piece of island & US history deserved a showcase. Normally, T-Shirt Theatre only performs original student-written shows, but we had a core of talented alumni that were available to stage the piece. Our cast included TST alumni: Jarren Amian, Jayden Dela Cruz, Maricar Dela Cruz, Elvis Grande, Jay Laeno, and Janelle Yere, and current FHS students Jacynth Agraan and Lealoha Tumbaga.. This project was extremely challenging for the actors to memorize, but it has forever changed how they look at that war.

The Hawaii premiere was held on Sunday, November 9, 2014 (Veteran’s Day) at 2pm and was very appropriately at the Pacific Aviation Museum at Ford Island.

Where Does it End?

Theatre performances are traditionally performed in front of a large audience who’s just there to watch the show. However, a small group of T-shirt Theatre cast and alumni participated with a different type of performance when approached by the Consuela Foundation. In this Plays for Living Script, “Where Does it End?” follows teenagers that go suffer as a result of bullying. The narrative focuses on the fact that a bully doesn’t necessarily mean the big guy who’s picking on the little guy. It shows how everyone has the potential of being a bully without even realizing it. It even touches on why a bully acts the way they do, and how to stop the cycle of bullying. All these thought provoking question are important because after the performance, the cast and directors sat down with the audience and discussed these topics. These averaged about 20-30 people, with a mix of students and adults. The purpose of these performances were to connect with smaller groups of people in order to create a more intimate and impactful environment. Audiences included the Academy of the Pacific, the Palama Settlement football boys, Kalihi YMCA, the T-Shirt Theatre Cast, and a Moloka’i community center.