We've started rehearsing for year three of *Choosing Sides* at Horace Mann Middle School. *Choosing Sides* is a three-day interactive play that explores bullying with middle school students. I developed *Choosing Sides* in collaboration with Pulaski Technical College, SafePlaces, and Horace Mann Middle School. I am excited about this year because I have revised the script and facilitations, and I'm ready to try out the revisions. Last year was very effective but I played it safe. I relied heavily on our *Choosing Sides* booklets for facilitations. These were booklets with specially designed written activities that inspired additional discussion. The teacher and students really loved the booklets. They all felt the booklets provided an emotionally safe way to engage with this difficult topic. This year we're doing a lot more on-your-feet activities. Hopefully, we can keep it emotionally safe but also get into some more meaningful conversations. Above you see my actors, Stephanie Ong and Chris Straw rehearsing. I will write more in the coming weeks!
Wildwood Park for the Arts has commissioned me to write their children's educational theatre tour. The tour will take place in early spring 2012. Artistic director Cliff Baker requested the play focus on the seed to plate idea.
I have completed the rough draft based on a one page story by my sister-in-law, Emily Hardin. The play focuses on a young girl, Lily, who loves vegging out in front of the TV with her favorite junk foods. Huck, a smarmy kid-friendly tv food spokesperson, insures that Lily's love of junk foods continues to grow. Over the summer, Lily stays on her Grandma Francis' farm. Grandma Francis grows a lot of what she eats and doesn't have a TV. Though Lily wins the opportunity to be a TV spokesperson along side Huck and can now eat as much junk food as she wants, she feels differently. Lily must choose between her love of junk food and the healthy choices she learned to make at Grandma Francis' farm.
I will continue to work on the play over the next few months until the tour begins!
About the Author: April Gentry-Sutterfield is a director, deviser, educator, and mom who uses theatre as a tool for social justice, education, and community engagement.