You can help give life to two new theatrical works that feature a strong ensemble and evaluate universal themes of youth, gender expectations, misogyny and the human experience in America with a heavy influence on the female perspective. Both plays focus in on the lives of “misfits” trying to create a world in which they can express themselves and gain acceptance. We’re bringing these plays to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017.
Squire Lane Theatrical and Baby Crow Productions are bringing two new theatrical works to Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017, the first and largest fringe theatre festival in the world.
In theatre, as in life, few things are more important than finding your people. What inevitably brought Squire Lane, Baby Crow, Kevin, Margaret, Joy and I together is a shared belief in the potential for theatre to provoke dialogue, inspire empathy, and provide a platform for socially relevant stories and underrepresented voices.
Kids Play is also about finding your people. It began 3 years ago as 10-minute play, exploring slut-shaming and internalized sexism and its socialization on the playground. Over the next year and a half, collaborating with different casts and directors, a full-length version began to take shape. Working on the play often became a catalyst for countless stories about childhood friendships, Catholic school, and coming out. In so many respects, these were versions of my story.
Around the same time, Joy (who played a big part in the development of Kids Play) had already begun assembling fragments from her 6th grade journals for the solo play that would eventually become 13 & Not Pregnant.
Fast forward to the 2016 election, where 53% of white women voted against the first viable female candidate for president of the United States. Instead they opted for a candidate who bullied his way through the primaries, admitted to walking in on beauty contestants as they dressed, and bragged that his status gave him a free pass to sexually assault women.
A year ago, when we first began exploring the idea of bringing our work to Edinburgh, the world seemed primed for dark and funny coming-of-age stories about misfit teens, queers and cyber-bullying. Now the play feels bigger and more urgent to us.
At one point or another in my life I’ve been all of these characters. For me, writing a play is an act of extreme empathy. There’s a push to expand feeling and understanding into the imagined lives of others. I believe this act of imagining the lives of others has a modest yet profound role in the fight for a more just and tolerant society.
While no play can directly change the problems of society, our hope is that bringing these stories to audiences can bring immediacy and awareness to the struggles of young people who weren’t as lucky as I was.
— Reese Thompson, playwright Kids Play
SHAME BEGINS ON THE PLAYGROUND
The CDC reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. According to Yale University’s Office of Public Affairs, victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victim.
A study conducted in Britain by the charity Beatbullying says that nearly half of suicides among 10 to 14-year-olds are due to bullying, with girls and gay youth being at particularly high risk.
“Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment. In addition, they do not escape the heightened rates of physical threats and sustained harassment common to their male peers and young people in general.” —Pew Research Center, Online Harassment, 2014
While social media has acted as a particularly dangerous catalyst for the dehumanization of women, the instinct to shame and harass women has strong roots in society that stretch far back.
“I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, ‘That Woman.’ I was seen by many, but actually known by few…” —Monica Lewinsky, TED Talk: The Price of Shame
“It seems the word slut can be applied to any activity that doesn’t include knitting, praying, or sitting perfectly still lest any sudden movements be deemed whorish.” —Jessica Valenti, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut
“…people dislike or condemn promiscuity in the abstract, in hypothetical experimental scenarios, or for some distant ‘others,’ but that they’re much more likely to accept it, understand it or excuse it when it concerns themselves or their already close friends.” —Zhana Vrangalova, “Do Promiscuous People Really Have Fewer Friends?” Psychology Today
“Technology has ramped it up so much that there are no boundaries … It’s so faceless and they are free to say whatever, they’re free to say and do whatever without thinking about it.” —Carol Todd, mother of victim, Amanda Todd
Written by Reese Thompson, Directed by Margaret Grace Hee
Set against a backdrop of small-town gossip amplified by social media, limitless shame, and the hell-fire of the confession booth, KIDS PLAY is a darkly funny account of the pressures to be both normal and exceptional in a world hostile to misfit girls and queer kids, when nothing is quite so momentous as friendship, nor so utterly monstrous as ourselves. #BFF4NOW #KIDSPLAY4EVER
“Bratty, insolent, and wise, Kids Play is a mash-up of John Hughes, Jean Genet, and Jem & the Holograms” – Stephen Karam (The Humans, Speech & Debate)
“Reese is a truly original new voice in the theatre — exploring areas no one else is, saying things no one else would, and finding both humor and meaning in the madness of contemporary life. To be so unique in outlook and talented in execution is beyond rare in emerging artists. His work speaks to our moment with deep wit and insight, and is always a theatrical delight.” – Christopher Shinn (Four, Dying City, and Teddy Ferrara)
13 & Not Pregnant
Written & Performed by Joy Donze, Directed by Mia Capotorto Sommese
WINNER BEST COMEDY 2016 UNITED SOLO FESTIVAL
13 & Not Pregnant introduces the aggressively hormonal writings of 90’s pre-teen Joy Donze, as she navigates her erratically evolving girlhood. A comedic exploration of that pivotal time when we search within our tormented selves and dare to ask… who am I?
“Hilarious, poignant and shockingly honest!” -Karen Ludwig (solo performer, author of WHERE WAS I?)
“I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard for the entire duration of a show. Go see Joy Donze… SO FUNNY.” – Daniel Kwiatkowski (thehollowsonline.com)
“What a fab funny funny show. Joy Donze has had her show extended into net week. Go see her!” – Richard Mazda (Executive Producer – The Secret Theatre NYC)
“13 & Not Pregnant was both hilarious and honest. It lovingly takes a journey back to a tie where EVERYTHING matters. Young Joy thinks she knows everything, but the audience can laugh and relate because we know she knows nothing.” – Pamela Wess, filmmaker
WHAT WE NEED
We are raising $35,000 to bring “13 & Not Pregnant” and “Kids Play” to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and bring these much needed stories to the world.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is generally not a place to go if you’re looking to make money, but rather a festival where artists grow, lifetime networks are built, and new shows get their legs. Bringing two shows with primarily New York based artists is a costly endeavour. Our total cost of producing these projects, including flying cast and crew from New York to Edinburgh, housing them, feeding them, and putting up two great shows is approximately $40,000, including about a 10% contingency.
Link to the Project: