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WHAT IS IT?
THE ROCK & THE RIPE
A PLAY ABOUT THE BULLIED AND BRUISED GAY YOUTH OF AMERICA
JUNE 1-17, 2012
directed/written by Mark Blane
assistant directed/produced by Nicole Humphrey
Performing June 1st, 2nd, & 3rd @ Links Hall
3435 N Sheffield Ave # 207, Chicago, IL
Extended run of the show!: June 7-17 @ Teatro Luna
3914 North Clark Street Chicago, IL
CHECK OUT the "Updates" tab above for information about trips across America to meet the families of bullied kids who took their own lives. Photos, quotes, and interview videos will be added.
Based on the true stories of a lost generation of gay suicides, this project is to honor and give voice to the ones who are not here to tell us their accounts. We are creating a play, a book, and a movement.
Introducing a diverse cast of professional Chicago actors/activists: Anthony Stamilio, Will Green, Alison Mouratis, Danny Luwe, Michelle Limon, Dan Olson, and Jeff Newman
Set in a tiny waiting room outside of the principal's office, six young people await their conviction...uh-I mean punishment. Billy would not remove his favorite jacket during his history class. JJ has one dirty mouth that gets them in to it with all the other kids. One of them is a cute mute, and Erin is wearing a tiara...we don't know why she is there. Calvin seeks help after having gum put in his hair time and time again, and Brendan's been playing a mean prank on a boy in the bathroom. Much like a cake that is half The Breakfast Club and the other half Waiting for Godot, THE ROCK & THE RIPE is frosted and layered with humor, tragedy, and mystery. This work is a 'new-age' The Laramie Project that takes real-life information and stories and mashes them all together to bake a mix of outcasts, misfits, and the misunderstood. Chaos meets desperation in this World Premiere play. What really happened to each youth? How are they all connected? And what is inside the Principal's office that makes them so scared to open the door?
Designed by talented and recently established graphic designers and artists, Kady Dennell & Jillian Barthold (founders of Deflated/Inflated), with content by Mark Blane, and collaborations with various experts and voices from across the country. The book will be a dissection of how this process and project came to be, the atrocious facts and stories of anti-gay bullying from across the country, information commemorating the lives of 14-year-old Phillip Parker, 14-year-old Rafael Morelos, and many others. Direct quotes from phone-calls, in-person interviews in communities across the country that are affected by homophobia, ignorance, careless town officials, and unsympathetic and uneducated (ironically) school administrations. This book will be PACKED with photography, research, plus insight into the the minds of the actors/activists.
I am also proud to share my story, which will for the first time be exposed to a larger community (in the book and in the play). Excerpts of the script will be available in the book as well.
WHAT YOUR MONEY SUPPORTS:
The rehearsal space, insurance for the performers in the production, a lighting/sound technician and designer, professional Chicago actors, costumes, sets, props, venue rental fee, advertising and marketing, the costs of the t-shirts and nifty swag, and of course, the PRINTING of the books...your money will help us get our message out there. And start a project that really needs a future.
To depict the stories and perspectives of the young people who have taken their lives due to anti-gay bullying, traditional and conservative pressures from small communities and society, and never-ending lack of protection and perpetuating of harassment within the school systems of the United States of America.
Gay youth are still taking their lives. This is not an historical play. It's about what is happening here and now.
WHO AM I?
I am Mark Blane. I am a 23-year-old director, playwright, and activist from the Midwest. I had been researching this subject for the past 3 years when I finally began to write about my childhood and experiences with homophobia, hatred, and emotional torture in my small hometown in Indiana. Memories began to flood back of traumatic bullying events I had suppressed. Meanwhile, more and more suicides were being reported in the news of young boys. I knew it was my mission to do something...because I was so fortunate to make it through. (Read more of my bio on the bottom right.)
WHO ARE WE? Watch.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
To tour this play, and reach out to communities who we can aid on a continuous journey of learning/changing and responding and reflecting on the play, the issues, the children who are gone, and the future lives we can support and inspire. It's not just about the word 'bullying.' We want to teach people about the layers of this human rights struggle, particularly from the child's point of view.
Continually inspired &
Fighting for change,
PLEASE CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org w/ any inquiries
FOLLOW US ON TUMBLR: http://rockripeplay.tumblr.com/
Song credit from video: "Crickets" by The Accordions
Title Graphic by Kady Dennell:
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