Editor’s Note: Ensemble Stage’s anti-bullying plays, originally scheduled for Friday, March 1, have been postponed to the following Friday, March 8.
By Jesse Wood
Originally published on Feb. 26, 2013. Ensemble Stage presents three anti-bullying plays on Friday, March 8, which will address the causes of bullying and its effects on the victims.
Nearly 40 Blowing Rock Elementary School students auditioned, while 14 K-8 students were eventually cast for the age-appropriate plays, which combined will span about one hour.
The shows feature an eighth grader, a bunch of third graders and many kids in between. The performance will be held at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium and starts at 7 p.m.
“Three Bully Goats Griff” is geared towards kindergarten to fourth graders, while the other two plays – “Bystanders” and Last Testament” – look at problems facing fifth to 12 graders.
Ensemble Stage Director Gary Smith called “Three Bully Goats Griff” a light-hearted play that features two trolls and three billy goats to entertain the younger audiences but doesn’t put the message “right in your face” like the other two plays.
“‘Bystanders’ and ‘Last Testament’ are pretty powerful plays and little kids could possibly be scared by them,” Smith said, adding that the shows feature costumes and set designs and lighting that accommodate Ensemble Stage’s summer productions.
“It’s not just a bunch of kids on stage with no props and no costumes,” Smith said.
Lynn Lawrence is on the Ensemble Stage’s board of directors. She said a while back a group of drama students who were concerned about bullying and shootings that have occurred in the schools approached the Blowing Rock principal, who in turn approached Smith and Lisa Lamont, manager of the Ensemble Stage.
Lawrence said that with the help of numerous other community members, the Ensemble Stage was able to raise a little more than $5,000 for production costs, but the overall goal hasn’t quite been met, yet.
As for the play, Lawrence said one of the goals is to be able to travel to the other schools in the district and perform the play for others students.
There is no fee for attending the production, and Smith said if the production does travel to other schools, those shows won’t have a fee either because the “subject matter is too important.”
As for kids watching kids perform the play, Smith said that the play will have more of an impact with children watching their own peers as opposed to an adult telling them how it is.
“The bottom line is kids don’t need another adult to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. Kids listen to their peers and pay attention to their peers sharing that message more than they would with an adult,” said Gary Smith, director of the Ensemble Stage.
Blowing Rock Elementary School is located at 160 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock.
For more information about the Ensemble Stage or this production, click to www.ensemblestage.com.
Also read Lawrence’s “Letter to the Editor” for more information: www.hcpress.com/letters-to-the-editor/58753.html.