Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Teen Bullying: A Crisis for the Whole World

There is an epidemic going on in this country, and it feels like teens are at the epicenter. Every time I read another story of a school or a home shooting, I cringe to think that the attacker is a teenage boy, who was bullied. There are also too many heartbreaking stories of girls who have met the perils of their bullies on social media, then mocked and commented on by people outside the bullying clan. Sometimes the girls run away, sometimes they are victims of a violent attack. All of these scenarios have the same desperate ending. In this world where violence receives the loudest voice, our teens are feeling that this is the only place to be heard. To be noticed.

In 2009, Treehouse Shakers premiered Let's Talk About IT! our original dance-play for teens. The piece deals with issues of the adolescent; body image, peer pressure, media influence, love, relationships, friendship and yes, bullying. With all of the horrors that continually fill the crime reports, it is this bullied child that haunts me. The mentally unstable boy, the outcast girl, the bullied child who grows into a violent adult.

Treehouse Shakers' Let's Talk About IT! 
In Let's Talk About IT! there is the weaving of the retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood throughout the piece. In our version, Little Red is the most popular girl in school, with name brand clothing, and a posse of mean girls who tout her coolness. The Wolf, is always being picked on for his Big Ears, Long Nose, and Hairy Body. He likes to dance, mostly to Motown, wears glasses, and is seemingly very awkward in his coming of age. He is also desperately in love with Little Red. He wants more than anything to ask her the prom. When creating this piece, I never ever realized how important the bullying aspects would be.

Let's Talk About IT! at Peter Jay Sharp Theater, NYC
The Wolf scares Little Red

I vividly remember High School in a small town. I had lots of friends, yet, on occasion I was still mocked. I was mocked for being in plays, wearing outdated clothes from the thrift store, dancing strangely to my favorite music at school dances. Yet, no amount of mocking could take me down. I wanted to stand out. Once I made it to Interlochen Arts Academy, I was relieved to fit in. I was finally in a school of artists. Not all kids, though, ever find their perfect place.

My Senior "Prom" at Interlochen Arts Academy with fellow thespian, Jeff Marshek.
The entire school went Roller Skating instead of a typical High School Dance.

I remember kids in my small town High School who never found their social place. They were bullied, and made the permanent outcast. A few summers ago, I came across a posting on Facebook of one such family. Every single child in that particular family had been mocked and made fun of in High School. On that Facebook thread people, all adults, were still posting hurtful posts about this family. The bullying continued. I often wonder what happened to that family. They aren't on any of the social media outlets, and since they never made friends, I don't know anyone who knows them. Today, those same kids might be filmed being made fun of and posted to You-tube for the whole world to join in on the ridiculing. Or perhaps worse, they could be the ones to walk into the local High School with an assault weapon, just to be noticed by the entire world. To finally be heard.

Treehouse Shakers' Let's Talk About IT! 
January 30 & 31, 2013 @ 11 am.
The Ailey Citigroup Theater
405 W. 55th St. (Corner of 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
Tickets: 212-715-1914
Call for Group Rates, or Students Ticket Pricing
Or Visit Treehouse Shakers

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