This is a longer version of my conversation with the cast and Leanna Neal, director of the Park Street Collegiate production of Floating On A Don’t Care Cloud. They’ve been touring the play to feeder schools and running extensive talk backs after each performance. Imagine that – talking about the issues youth face instead of pretending they don’t exist….
Hi! So, we’re here at Park Street. Just saw a production of Floating on a Don’t Care Cloud. It went really, really well. It’s always so funny when I go and see plays and how, sometimes, the vision that’s in my head is completely different than what I see on stage. And then, sometimes, the things that I see in my head come alive completely.
The way that pot is described in the play, it’s a cloud so it’s like seven characters and they surround the main character, and the way they did it today, it was just perfect! Exactly the way I saw it.
So, now what I’m going to do is I’m gonna go talk to some of the cast and I’m gonna go talk to the director.
So, let’s go talk to some of the cast, okay?
Girl 1: I like that you bring in stuff that’s more serious than pot. First of all, like meth. A lot of kids aren’t aware of methamphetamine.
Lindsay: Or that the people who use it are exactly like Mya – they’re top of their class and they’re using it to get ahead, like they’re not scumbags.
Girl 1: Yeah.
Lindsay: They’re using it because there are so much expectations on them and that’s the way they use it. I knew right away that Jamie wasn’t gonna be, if there was someone who was gonna die, it wasn’t gonna be Jamie. It was gonna be someone who you didn’t expect. And then, the way that, what’s her name who played Mya?
Cast: That’s Liz.
Lindsay: Oh, the way she did her death scene was just… I was like, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it before. I wrote it. I was just like…
How did you guys like being in the cloud?
Girl 1: It was cool.
Girl 2: It was a fun experience.
Lindsay: It was fun. You guys looked like, I really liked a lot of the reaction shots were perfect. You know, like am I on a horse? Am I on a cruise ship? You guys were so scornful of TJ.
Girl 3: It’s kind of hard to hate her.
Lindsay: No, I know. I was telling your teacher that the way with size and just the way that you looked and the way that you played it was exactly how I saw TJ.
Lindsay: Okay. So, now what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go talk to Leanna Neal who is the director here. And the cool thing about how all this came out is that there was a conference here in Ontario called CODE Conference and Craig was there. Craig, shake the camera, say hi. And Leanna came up and said, “Social awareness, please. What have you got?” and the first play that Craig put into her hands was Floating on a Don’t Care Cloud and she loved it and here we are.
So, now let’s go talk to her.
Lindsay: Why did you choose it?
Leanna: I fell in love with the play after reading a few and I was sitting in the staff room. I was laying on the couch and I had my feet up. I read it and I could not stop turning the pages and then I knew.
Lindsay: Ah. So, obviously that’s a good sign.
Leanna: A good sign.
Lindsay: And now that you have it up, do you still have the same…?
Leanna: I do. And every time I see it, there’s something new and something more exciting that I would do.
Lindsay: The Mya monologue just broke my heart. It was so special.
Lindsay: It was just like, oh, I was telling the kids it’s like, I wrote it, I know what happens, I’ve seen it, and it was just like, “Oh, stop!” Really, really good.
What’s the response been?
Leanna: Response has been really, really positive.
Leanna: And a lot of people are saying they liked it because it’s not preachy and it’s a good message and it gets people thinking. It’s been surprising with some of the other kids who put up their hands and said, “Well, somebody asked me to try marijuana,” and you’re thinking, “Whoa!” you know? And then, the cast today talked about being very candid with them. That’s been a (0:03:37 unclear) experience for them. To be able to say, you know, this is how you say no without being, you know, criticized by those kids.
Lindsay: (0:03:47 unclear) of the point is, at the end, it has to be the questions because there has to the question of not involving, it’s not my job, it’s not my job to tell a twelve-year-old or a fifteen-year-old or a twenty-year-old or a thirty-year-old, you know, “Don’t do this!” or, “You shouldn’t do that.” But you have to be the one who answers the question for yourself. So, how wonderful that, you know, to a feeder school and some twelve-year-old comes out, “Oh! Oh, I’m not alone. This happens. This happens everywhere.”
Leanna: We had another really interesting comment from one of the kids. At the very end of the story, you know, when we’re doing the wrap-up, everyone was talking, and cool down the lights off, the teachers are relaxed and one little boy looked at me and said, “So, what did he say? What did he choose? What did he choose?” and the cast just paused. “Well,” and threw it back to the group, “What do you think he should’ve chose?” So, it was interesting to hear them talk. “Well, obviously, he should choose his family. That’s the right thing to do.” So, it was good.
Linsday: Yay! They went for the family! Awesome, that’s great.
Thank you so much, Leanna. I’m so happy that I’ve seen your show.
Leanna: Thank you.