April 05, 2014

Student actors skewer bias, bullying

Author: By Liza Frenette
Source: RA Reporter
students
Caption: Members of the Hauppauge HS Stage the Change. Photo by Michael Campbell

"Who would want to be a stereotype?" a student asked RA delegates. Another student talked about being called "twig" or "anorexic." She's frequently asked: "Don't you ever eat?"

Another said he was constantly picked on for being gay by another guy, who about a year later came out himself as being gay. "It's as if he thought if he shredded other people's identities he could ignore his own," he said.

The students are part of an ensemble from Stage the Change players at Hauppauge High, a group that writes and performs original plays to stop the spread of bias. Under the direction of teacher Ruthie Pincus, Hauppauge Teachers Association, they amplify social justice lessons through theater.

On the RA stage, the students hosted a "party," where the guests were of different religions: Catholic (or "Cathy"), along with "Mormon," "Islam," "Atheist," "Hindu," "Scientologist," and Cathy's ex-husband, "Protestant." The party-goers initially focused only on their differences.

Finally, one frustrated party-goer asked if they could all just focus on what they had in common: to be the best people they can be, and how they each called on a power greater than themselves to help them achieve that.