According to the National Crime Prevention Council: Forty-three percent of teens have been victims of online abuse in the past year.
Bullying can happen anywhere, face to face, by text messages or on the web. Bullying is not limited by age, gender, race or education. It is not a phase, it is not a joke; bullying causes lasting harm.
Central Lakes College’s Theatre for a Diverse Population’s production of “B Is For Bully” explores the lasting effects of bullying on the lives of individuals and their communities. Company member Alex Schmolke says; “The production sheds light on the harsh reality of bullying. Most people just want to ignore the problem, hoping it will just go away . Those who are bullied suffer pain endlessly day after day.”
Theatre for a Diverse Population is designed to stimulate discussion on current social issues; the company is made up of students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles.
“The production is based on true events ... it’s a very diverse script and looks at bullying from the different cultures we live in today. Too often you see bullying, but no one does anything. If we want to make a change, we all need to take action.” said cast member Dillon Pool.
“It hurts to be bullied;” said freshman Cassandra Patrick, “For me I was bullied all through school. It started in grade school and didn’t stop until I graduated and it just wasn’t from kids, it was also from teachers.”
“I know how you feel, I was the chubby kid in school who didn’t fight back. To me a bully is someone who mentally and/ or physically picks on other people to make themselves look or feel better about themselves, while making the other person feel worse,” said Jeremy Boltjes.
“Bullying is everywhere, just read the paper, watch the news, look around you. There has been a recent wave of suicides by students who endured routine bullying because of their real or perceived sexual orientation. Five tragic deaths this fall alone. These are young kids; 12, 13 and 14 years old. Hopefully our production will raise an awareness about how lives are destroyed by this behavior.” said Patrick. “The hatred needs to stop.” said actress Amy Claypool and student actor, Michael Seelen agreed.
Seelen said, “It has to stop and stop now. People can no longer look the other way. I hope no one ever has to put up with the abuse some of us have been through.”
“The production is very topical it explores bullying that leads to physical and emotional abuse, rape, suicide and the destruction of families and communities and looks at our moral obligation to stop such behavior,” said director Dennis Lamberson. “With the scandal at Penn State we all need to check our moral compass to make sure we are traveling down the right road.”
“B Is For Bully” deals with adult themes and may not be suitable for all audience members.
Theatre for a Diverse Population productions have toured throughout Minnesota as well as performing for the International Chair Academy in 2010 and The Region Five Kennedy Center Theatre Festival in St. Louis in 2005.
Lamberson has won state, national and international acclaim for this theater event. Theatre for a Diverse Population productions have been called: “Very impactful and moving,” “Courageous students, an inspired teacher, wonderful performance” and “The presentation was awe inspiring. I’m taken in by the participants’ courage, confidence and creativity.”
The members of this year’s company are Jeremy Boltjes, Ann Campbell, Amy Claypool, Grant King, Cassandra Patrick, Dillon Pool, David Jenson, Alex Schmolke and Bea Mitchell.
Nancy Smith, CLC instructor and members of PTK will conduct a talk back session after each performance.
“B Is For Bully” will be performed at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, noon on Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 3, which will be an American Sign Language signed performance in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus.
Tickets are pay-what- you-can, with a minimum cost of $1. Recommended ticket cost is $5. To reserve tickets call the theater box office at 855-8199 or on the web at www.clctickets.com.