Play festival explores body image issues, bullying
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – When Community School of Davidson students take the stage this weekend, they won’t be performing the typical high school play.
Under the direction of theater arts teacher Melissa Ohlman-Roberge, the students will present a 10-minute play festival titled, “I See You, Do You See Me?” featuring a compilation of pieces about body image. The ninth- and 10th -grade performers will explore how people perceive themselves, how others can misperceive people, eating disorders and bullying and its effect on body image.
“Last year, we did a comedy and the students told me they were looking for something more challenging this year,” said Ohlamn-Roberge, who also serves as an artistic director for the Davidson Community Players. “The 10-minute play format has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years.”
Performances take place Thursday to Saturday, March 29 to 31, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the stage in the common area of the high school, 404 Armour St. Tickets may be purchased each night for $7 at the door, and proceeds from the festival will benefit the school’s arts wing, scheduled to begin construction this spring. Due to the nature of some of the performances, the school recommends the festival for students in the fifth grade and up.
Some of the pieces are traditional, Ohlman-Roberge said, with two or three people doing a scene together. Others take a more experimental approach with poetry – one Dr. Seuss-like piece consists of rhyming dialogue – or long dramatic monologues. Some of the kids have years of acting experience, while others are beginners.
Ohlman-Roberge said she pulled most of the pieces from the public domain, while one is an interesting piece written by a student. She said she chose the festival’s theme because of the great emphasis that the school places on health and its zero-tolerance policy for bullying.
“One really interesting piece begs to ask the question that if kids aren’t born inherently evil, what causes some to become that way,” Ohlman-Roberge. “It explores events like the Columbine shooting, where the shooters were actually bullied themselves.”
Community School of Davidson students, such as ninth-grader Rebecca Kuzmanovich, said the 10-minute format allows each actor to play a wide array of characters in the same performance.
“It gives everyone a time to shine,” Rebecca said. “You get to explore different character aspects. In one piece, you might play a very nice person, but in another you may play someone who’s mean.”
Ninth-grader Katie Kinser said the play has given her new views and perspectives on body image that she had never before considered.
“It has helped me grow both as an actor and as a person,” Katie said. “For instance, I never considered the idea that guys may have body images issues, too.”
Want to go?
The 10-minute play festival takes place Thursday to Saturday, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the common area of the Community School of Davidson, 404 Armour St. Tickets may be purchased each night for $7 at the door.