The Ginger Gent
OUTSIDE – A Play About Bullying and Homophobia, at The 519 – March 19, 2016
Roseneath Theatre is at it again. And when I say at it I mean putting on another fantastic production aimed at kids, but this time conquering bullying and homophobia. I am proud to say that after a successful integration of the concept of money, particularly after taking The Ginger Menace to see The Money Tree at The Roseneath, that the value and cost of things as well as the concept of having or not having enough money has become an open dialogue.
Integrating the concept of homophobia and bullying has not been as easy as volcano cakes and make your own pizzas. There has already been some pushing and shoving on the playground that a core group of little boys in JK have been engaging in, including you know who. At age 4 when normal speak is half-story / half-reality, it’s hard to get the whole truth, but thankfully he has an observant teacher who can communicate with the parents.
There definitely are age-appropriate conversations that will happen, but at age 4 it has to be very simplistic “when you – I feel-because” scenarios. As the little stream of JK kids trickles out the doors I certainly look around with my gaydar to see if there are other queer-ally parents around, but the idea of homophobia has not really kicked in. It’s more “I don’t like you because your shirt is blue”. However there will come a time when Ben steps into this world. This is the world the OUTSIDE ventures into.
In Outside the lead character Daniel has just moved to a new school and joined a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). There he tells stories of his experiences in his old high school that began with a taunt and a text message, and led to a serious physical assault. The story line focuses on bullying that is homophobic in nature, as well as depression and suicide. Left behind, his old friends Krystina and Jeremy are busy trying to process these events as well as start up their own GSA Club. I love the catch phrase they use, “three friends, two high schools, one lunch hour.” #RoseneathOutside
After seeing what a phenomenal job Roseneath Theatre has done tackling a difficult topic, and making it a production that is so incredibly accessible to its audience, I have absolutely no doubt that this will be a fantastic production. Go to support the children in your life who may be experiencing, or already have, homophobia and bullying particularly if your child is one with queer parents. This is a wonderful way to prepare our kids for something they will need to do for the rest of their life – standing up for themselves, standing up for their families, and standing up and for others.
OUTSIDE it directed toward grade 7 to 12 students, and has been nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards: Outstanding New Play by Paul Dunn and Outstanding Performance by G. Kyle Shields. It is set to tour Ontario Schools March 21 – May 6, 2016.
The production is going to be mounted on March 19th and it will be accompanied by a Gala at 519 Community Centre, featuring a live and silent auction with funds collected to help bring Roseneath’s youth focused productions all over Ontario. There will be food from Wallflower and Fabarnak, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly (wine sponsor), a performance by members of Singing Out and guests from the Leaside GSA.
About the Author
Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and single mom to a seven-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries boy who is growing up way too fast. Follow them on PinkPlayMags' parenting blog "The Ginger Gent" (www.pinkplaymags.com). Also, find Kelly on her own website and blog, Brave. Creative. Me at www.kellywilk.ca.