Friday, February 23, 2018

Dramatic Change AATE Pre-Conference: Looking for Lilith Forum Theatre Model

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company presented our award-winning, multimedia, Forum Theatre Model: “Choices: An Interactive Play on Cyberbullying and Suicide” at the 2012 AATE Dramatic Change Pre-Conference highlighting the the power of theatre to encourage respect and community as we fight back against the harmful effects of bullying in the lives of young people.

Professional actors with the Louisville-based theater group “Looking for Lilith” performed the short play, telling Hannah’s story. When 15-year old Hannah receives numerous threatening messages from an online peer, she finds herself becoming more and more powerless. Terrified, it seems to Hannah that she has no other way to end the fear and pain than to take her own life. In this interactive theater production, the audience has the opportunity to stop the suicide and choose other options that will change the outcome for Hannah.  Just as Hannah makes that terrible decision to take her life, the play stops… The actors then address the audience, giving them the opportunity to actively “discuss” Hannah’s other options by intervening in moments in the play where Hannah could make different choices when dealing with her online bully. Audience members will be able to take Hannah’s place in the play and act out their ideas, practicing how they themselves would deal with the situation at hand.

Following the performance and interventions we moderated a discussion about using and adapting Forum Theatre to address cyberbullying, Face-to-Face bullying and suicide. As a part of this discussion we shared adaptations we have made to “Choices” for different audiences, including parents and teachers, our work with Fern Creek High School students adapting and performing Choices in middle schools, and our international Choices training program helping actors to replicate this project in their communities.

Choices is a collaborative effort of Looking for Lilith, Make a Difference for Kids and Jefferson County Public Schools.

Jennifer Thalman Kepler is the Community Outreach Director at Looking for Lilith Theatre Company.

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