Catching Up with the Stage Manager for the First VPA Production of the Year, “The Squirrels”

Cosette Myrick, Staff Writer

The visual and performing arts bring life to every community, especially here at Le Moyne. With the semester underway, the Performing Arts Center is bustling with students in rehearsals preparing for a full lineup of shows. 


The shows for the Spring 2022 semester are “The Squirrels” and “Godspell,” presented by Boot and Buskin Laboratory Series, and “I Hate Hamlet,” presented by Major Arcana. “Godspell” will have shows at 8:00 pm on April 7, 8, and 9, with a 2:00 pm matinee on the 9. “I Hate Hamlet” will be on April 21, 22, and 23, with 8:00 pm shows each night and a 2:00 pm matinee on the 23rd. “The Squirrels” is the first show of the semester, and the rest of the information on this play will be featured along with a profile on the show’s stage manager, Declan Rapp. 


The Squirrels” is an Animal Farm for the modern-day, a bit twisted and shocking. The Le Moyne VPA website describes the play as a “boundary-pushing, darkly satirical look at wealth inequality in which no creature comes out unscathed.” Written by the playwright Robert Askins, this is one of his many works including the Tony-nominated play “Hand to God” and “The Umbrella Academy.” To say any more would spoil the show, but this display of squirrels is beyond fascinating. 


This show has a cast and crew with the experience and talent to pull it off. Declan Rapp, the stage manager of this production, has stage-managed two other shows at Le Moyne prior to “The Squirrels.” He managed “Trojan Woman”—which featured two guest directors who Rapp described as “phenomenal”—and “A MidZoomer Night’s Dream”—which was a production done over Zoom. For Declan, his favorite part of theater is the people. He says, “Probably the best part of working any show though, is getting a chance to work with the cast and crew, all of whom are wonderful people!”


When Declan graduates in 2022, he will have an impressive diploma with a Computer Science and Theatre Dual Major. He has four minors in math, creative writing, software applications and systems development, and Irish literature. On top of all that, he is in the Integral Honors Program, an RA in Foery Hall, and in Erie21. Along with his academics, he has learned a lot with his theatrical involvement. 


“It’s also an amazing learning opportunity, especially working with guest directors, as you get to learn different styles of direction and how to adapt to different rehearsal processes and shows,” Declan shares. “‘The Squirrels’ especially has been a unique show with a lot of adaptation necessary since there are so many different technical aspects to look at in putting it on.”


“When it’s all done and there are audiences in the seats, it’s definitely worth all the hours of work,” says Declan. To be a part of the audience, you can visit to purchase tickets. The show has a two-weekend run, showing February 25, 26, March 3, 4, and 5 all at 8:00 pm. There is an additional 2:00 pm matinee on March 5. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for students and the Le Moyne community. For additional information, please call the W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts at (315) 445-4200 or visit