Cautionary Tales Offered By The Relevant Stage's Season Opener: Acts Of Desperation

Harnessed emotion from documentary film will explode in live interpretive dance paired with stage play in an innovative, mesmerizing confluence of story, art and emotion - Acts of Desperation at San Pedro, California's Warner Grand Theatre, produced by The Relevant Stage. School Shootings and Teen Suicides prompted by peer abuse (later termed "bullycide") are the focus of powerful art.

Relevance is a key ingredient in Acts of Desperation. This tour de force of conceptual theatre and dance merged with celluloid will be a poignant, immersive exploration of the secret terror that threatens to undermine the teen years of many boys and girls.

Certainly the brutal slayings at Virginia Tech, the recent shootings in Cleveland, and the obviation of what may have been another school shooting in Philadelphia is a reminder that making schools safe, requires more than security and bullet-proof backpacks - it requires acknowledging and treating the underlying problem: relational aggression.

These incidents also underscore the relevance of TRS' very first production. Some say that this is a risky production to produce. After all, no one enjoys a tragedy. However, mankind learns from tragedies when they don't avoid acknowledging them. And don't be fooled - these escalating situations are not unique to teens. Events rooted in peer abuse, culminating in violence can happen anywhere - even at the workplace and at home.

With that in mind, The Relevant Stage is offering two tales of relational aggression gone amok. The first tale is a true story. Excerpts from the documentary film Rats & Bullies by Roberta McMillan, will tell the story of a 14-year-old girl, Dawn-Marie Wesley, who felt so much fear, and imagined that she had no other recourse, but to take her own life - in order to escape the threats on her life by other girls. Her bullies were held accountable, and this case led many countries and states into adopting anti-bullying legislation. Highlighted by this presentation are the costs of bullying and the ramifications of suicide.

The second tale is a work of fiction, but one that could be seen as an amalgam of all school shooting incidents. In the one-act play Bang Bang You're Dead by William Mastrosimone we meet "Josh" as he serves a life sentence after killing his parents and five students during a rampage. By learning his story, we become better equipped to identify future volatile persons and ways to defuse them.

TRS is very pleased to have a superb creative team assisting Founder and Artistic Director, Ray Buffer with the concept and execution. Directing the production is Lucas Pakes, a recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton who has a special passion for educational theatre. Choreographing the interpretive dance sequences are the artistic directors of San Pedro City Ballet, Cynthia and Patrick David Bradley. Dance will be used to express the subtext and add texture to the raw emotions prevalent in both stories.

Without question, a production such as this has intrinsic value to students, parents and educators. TRS will present two free matin?e performances at Warner Grand Theatre, on January 31 and February 1, 2008 at 1PM - exclusively for schools that can transport their audiences to Warner Grand Theatre. This will enable up to 3000 students to experience this production at no cost to the schools. Space is still available for schools to reserve seats for students and faculty. Schools should contact The Relevant Stage for more details.

Public performances are January 31, February 1 and 2 at 7pm, and February 3 at 1pm.

As a piece of theatre, these tragedies will also be artistically appealing to traditional theatre-goers. The fact that the stories are relevant only makes the drama more compelling.

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