It's the Grass That Suffers

Earle Ernst Lab Theatre

Sep 28, 29, Oct 4, 5

Fri, Sat at 11:00pm. Sun at 7:30pm

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s student-run theatre company, Late Night Theatre, kicks off its 2019-2020 Late Night Series with an all new work, It’s the Grass that Suffers, written by MFA in Design Candidate, Joseph Governale. This production, full of humor and heart, draws its audiences into the world of Sofie, eleven years old and dreaming of elephants and struggling to find a way to connect with her estranged father. With video animations designed by UHM students Gavin Aucan and Roberto Renteria, the space is transformed again and again, and life is viewed through the eyes of a child, where imagination reigns and anything can be possible. 

This production, though infused with plenty of laughs, explores challenging issues, examining the complexities of divorce and family from a perspective not always represented in stories of stage or screen: the viewpoint of the child. The production team believes this perspective will resonate with audiences of today in a powerful way. As director and MFA in Directing Candidate Thea Wigglesworth states, “This show hits home for all of us. We are a generation that grew up with an ever-climbing divorce rate. All of us have been touched either in our own homes or in the home of one of our close friends.” Playwright Governale discusses his desire to tackle this difficult topic in an open manner, stating, “I believe it's important to treat subjects like these in a direct and head on way, as that is how they occur in life. Sofie's father is imperfect and she must weigh her want for her father back in her life against that imperfection.” Ultimately, as Wigglesworth indicates, the message of the play is a hopeful and empowering one, which “shows us that friendship and imagination can help us find relief from a stress-filled world.”

This brand new script was developed in a collaborative workshopping process, over an eight month period going from “blank page to full stage,” as Wigglesworth states. The process involved Governale and Wigglesworth working with student designers, animators, and actors, who together helped to shape and reshape the play and invested in telling the story in a way which would connect with its audiences. This was a unique opportunity for the UHM students involved and involved a partnership between students of the Theatre and Dance Department and students of the Academy of Creative Media, who developed animation sequences to help build the visual world of the play. Wigglesworth describes, “It is so exciting and special when one team is able to stay together long enough to go from the first cold reading to the stage. As Eric Johnson, one of the mentors of this project said, ‘Playwriting itself is such a solitary act and yet play creation is entirely collective.’  We used those words to guide us through this process and I think have come up with some amazing moments, both individually and together.”

Performances of It’s the Grass that Suffers run September 28 and 29 and October 4 and 5 in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre inside Kennedy Theatre on the UH Mānoa Campus. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 11:00 with a “matin-eve” on Sunday the 29th at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office one hour before curtain. There will be no intermission. 

WHAT: It’s the Grass that Suffers by Joseph Governale

WHO: Late Night Theatre hosted by UHM Department of Theatre + Dance
WHEN: September 28, 29 & October 4, 5, 2019

FRI/SAT 11:00PM and SUN 9/29 7:30PM

WHERE: Earle Ernst Lab Theatre at Kennedy Theatre


$10 Regular

$8 Seniors, Military, UH Faculty/Staff

$5 UH Mānoa Students with valid UHM ID

Tickets are available for purchase at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office one hour before curtain.

Hitting The Stage