– A guest blog by Tully Satre –
Many generations have fought to figure out how to conform to this very adjective.
Few have returned; none have succeeded.
Why? The concept is rather simple; normal is virtually nonexistent.
Last summer, the Loudoun Youth Initiative commissioned the Creative Youth Theater Foundation (“CY”) to create an original show about bullying. After two auditions, CY cast 26 teenagers, representing nine Loudoun schools and a number of surrounding counties, to write and compose a show.
I am one of those teenagers. For the past two years, I fought bullying in Richmond as the founder and director of Equality Fauquier/Culpeper. Now, along with the CY cast, I fight bullying among my peers.
Working with my friends, as they have each become, has truly been a gift. From the first day we all met, we became family. We were all there with at least two things in common: we have bllied and have been bullied. For the past four months we have continued a dialogue reflecting upon our own encounters with bullying. The product: Normal, a show that exposes bullying as it stands in our own community.
As we have discovered, “normal” is a completely subjective conception. Each culture, clique, community and person sets standards for what they define as normal. There is no one definition or classification of what normal is or can be, and that is exactly the point we have already made in creating this show.
Normal is a show that addresses the issue of bullying rather than ignoring it. Bullying is yet another attempt to tarnish diversity. Through this show, a mirror will be placed before the audience that will reflect a piece of our lives that many of us have chosen to ignore. We have all been bullies. We have all been bullied. With this show, we will create a dialogue in our educational community as well as the world around us. Normal is the seed to a budding solution.
—Tully Satre was honored as a Capital Pride Hero in 2006. He became an advocate for GLBT youth after being outed in his middle school, going on to found Equality Fauquier/Culpeper at the age of 16. He currently serves as executive director of EF/C. Tully also founded Commonwealth Education Equality Virginia (CEEVA/StandEqual) an organization that supports the establishment of gay-straight alliances in schools. He has been interviewed by The Washington Blade, The New York Times and The Advocate, whose website now features his blog. While contributing his considerable talent to this project of the Loudoun Youth Initiative, Tully is also finishing his senior year of high school in Loudoun County.
Normal will tour with five performances (admission is free to all shows):
- February 9th at 7:30pm at Potomac Falls High School (Sterling)
- February 10th at 8:00pm at The Hill School (Middleburg)
- February 11th at 3:00pm at Heritage High School (Leesburg)
- February 17th at 7:30pm at Franklin Park Performing and
Visual Arts Center (Purcellville)
- February 18th at 3:00pm at Stonebridge High School (Ashburn)
From the Step Up Loudoun website:
“Normal” An original theater production about teens and bullying
This February, the Creative Youth Theater Foundation in collaboration with the Loudoun Youth Initiative will present this fresh, timely and poignant piece of theater. The production is entirely created and developed by 26 teenagers from all over Loudoun County. The cast ranges in age from 12-19 years old.
“Normal” dives into the inner and outer life of teenagers as they work through all the issues surrounding bullying: self esteem, making choices, being authentic, and being the person you want to be. Directed by Tom Sweitzer, Kim Tapper, and Rick Conway of the Creative Youth Theater Foundation, the show is geared towards teenagers ranging in age from 12-18, their parents and community members.
There will be a half hour question and answer session with the cast members following each production.
After the censorship and bullying travesties of the past few years, this is awesome. We encourage everyone to go see this production. Go! Go!