“Kīpuka: An Anti-Bullying Project” is a documentary that addresses bullying, cyberbullying, and teen suicide prevention, written and performed by the students (aged 13-18) at T-Shirt Theatre. 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.
T-Shirt Theatre’s 2017-2018 performance of “Kīpuka” takes on varying perspectives on bullying like cyber-bullying, self-bullying, being a bystander, confronting abusive relationships, LGBTQ+ relationships, and even taking the bully’s perspective. The show is balanced with humor, and demonstrates how positive safe spaces and influences like family and community can be kīpukas, too.
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.
This documentary was directed by T-Shirt Theatre alumnus Jeremiah Tayao and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.