'Mean' gives YPC actors a chance to talk about bullying
2011 Cast of Mean
Photo courtesy YPC
As part of October's National Bullying Prevention Month, Youth Performing Company will present MEAN. The play opens this weekend at Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, and is a musical based on real-life stories of teen victims. In it, teens are singled out for their appearance, their religion, and their sexuality. However, the victims eventually discover that they are not alone, and stand up to the bullies after realizing that it's okay to be different.
The production premiered in 2010, and has been so successful that it's being brought back for a third run.
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Cast members Robert Jackson, Ian Udulutch and Maggie Cramer
Cramer says a policemen at the school advised the students to get off Twitter, but she doesn't see that as a viable solution to the bullying problem.
Cast members Shawn Chromey, Carleton Moller-Reed, Erin Aye and Peyton Dixon
Unfortunately, not all school districts are ready for the message. One school cancelled a 600-seat reservation when the principal viewed a video of last year's production, and objected to the portrayal of a gay character. "Sometimes schools and administrators struggle with this issue," she says. "It's the elephant in the room." It's unfortunate that schools aren't ready to tackle the issue, she says. "Our kids need us to be real."
IF YOU GO:
Friday, September 28 through October 14
Howard Conn Fine Arts Center
1900 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
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