Furry orange Gappers will invade the Kennedy Theatre stage in April

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Contact:
Matthew Kelty, (808) 956-2598
Director of Publicity, Kennedy Theatre
Kennedy Theatre Box Office, (808) 956-7655
Posted: Mar 19, 2014

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip opens Friday, April 11.
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip opens Friday, April 11.

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance is proud to present “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” as the final mainstage show of its 50th Anniversary season.  Performances will take place on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., and April 20 at 2 p.m.  Audiences will also have the opportunity to attend free pre-show chats at 6:30 p.m. on April 12 and 19.

Subject to availability, UHM students with validated Spring 2014 IDs will be able to take advantage of the theater’s buy-one-get-one-free program on April 18.  Patrons who attend on April 11 are also invited to join the cast and director – as well as faculty from the Department of Theatre and Dance – for a post-show reception on the theater’s lanai in celebration of Kennedy’s 50th Anniversary.

As a special treat on Sunday, April 20, an Easter Egg Hunt will be offered for young audience members after the show.

“Gappers” director Mark Branner jumped into production this Spring, after having spent a semester teaching in London.  He’s also kept himself busy here on O‘ahu: In addition to directing “Gappers,” he is currently working with the theater company Monkey Waterfall to create the new piece, “Twelve Angry Monkeys.”  He’s also preparing to direct a Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) show about Eddie Aikau at the Hawai‘i Theatre Center this fall.

“It’s a great privilege to work on so many unique and creative projects,” says Branner. “The best TYA can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages — and these projects all fulfill that high goal.  ‘Gappers’ is not just a ‘kid’s show.'  It has something for everyone.”

“The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” is Kennedy Theatre’s annual TYA production. This musical’s book and lyrics were written by Doug Cooney, with music by David O.; it is adapted from the young reader's novel by George Saunders.  Saunders is more widely known for his award-winning adult fiction, but “Gappers of Frip” has also been highly praised; at the time of the book’s release, “Entertainment Weekly” declared that “in a perfect world, every child would own a copy of this profound, funny fable about … how the world is versus how it ought to be.”

“Gappers” tells the story of the smart and hard-working girl, Capable (Amy Johnson, seen last fall in Kennedy Theatre’s The Wild Party), her recently widowed father (Johnny Reed, recently seen in Diamond Head Theatre’s Stepping Out), and her neighbors in the village of Frip.  This musical features rich and charming melodies, and accompaniment by a toy piano; Richard Bragdon (one of the musical directors for “The Wild Party”) is musical director and pianist for the production.  The show also features dozens of gappers: small orange sea creatures that love (and terrify) the villagers’ goats.  Teryl Garcia, a TYA student who specializes in puppetry, has been in charge of creating the play’s goats and gappers as part of her MFA thesis.

The children of Frip spend their days combing the gappers from the goats, and returning them to the sea.  But one day, the gappers begin to converge only on Capable’s goats, and the young woman must decide whether to ask her neighbors for help, do all the work herself, or give up on goats and her family’s livelihood altogether.  The villagers’ choices, and the ways that they treat each other, weave together to tell a story of hard work, hard decisions, unneighborly behavior, and – ultimately – forgiveness.

The production combines singing, puppetry, humor and some quick-changing double-cast actors (Timothy Callais, making his Kennedy Theatre debut, will play both Sid and Carol Ronsen).  Branner is asking a lot of the show’s performers, designers and crew; but he knows that his students and colleagues are up to the task: “We have so many first-rate people working on this show.  From the acting and the puppets to the set, lights and costumes, it’s a collaborative effort that shows the strength and depth of our TYA program here at Mānoa.”

Tickets for “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” are available at the Kennedy Theatre box office.  It is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours on performance dates.  Tickets may also be purchased online 24/7 at etickethawaii.com, by phone at (808) 944-2697, and at participating outlets.  Prices are $20 general admission; $18 seniors / military / UH faculty and staff; $15 UHAA members; $13 college students; $10 children aged 2 through 17, and $5 UHM students with validated Spring 2014 UHM photo IDs.  Ticket prices include all service fees.  Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

For further information, please visit the department’s website at http://hawaii.edu/kennedy/ or call the theater at (808) 956-7655.  For disability access, please call the theater.

EVENT:

“The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip”

PRESENTED BY:

UHM Department of Theatre and Dance

WHEN:

April 11, 12*, 18, and 19* at 7:30 p.m.

April 20 at 2 p.m.

* Free pre-show chat at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE:

UHM’s Kennedy Theatre Mainstage

1770 East-West Road, Honolulu

TICKET PRICES:

$20 general admission

$18 seniors / military / UH Faculty and staff

$15 UHAA members

$13 students

$10 children ages 2 through 17

$5   UHM students with validated Spring 2014 UHM photo ID

Ticket prices include all service fees.

PURCHASE INFO:

Tickets are available at the Kennedy Theatre box office; the box office is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours on performance dates.  Tickets may also be purchased online at etickethawaii.com, by phone at (808) 944-2697, and at participating outlets.

For more information, visit: http://hawaii.edu/kennedy/2013/gappers/index.php