I’m working on a new play for middle schools about bullying. It’s going to be mostly non-verbal (although as I continue to work on it, that actually means no dialogue as actors will make sound). The theme of the play is how overwhelming a bullying situation can be – not just having to deal with a bully, but the fact that friends may desert the bullee, that parents may push the bullee to stand up for themselves, that teachers may not believe the victim. That bullies often end up escaping appropriate punishment because the adults involved aren’t willing to step up themselves.
I’m circling around about the end of the play. It can’t be all ‘hey all I have to do is tell a teacher and all my problems will be solved! Hooray!’ Telling a teacher did didly squat when I was bullied in middle school and the research pretty much shows as such. On the opposite end, it can’t be a violent retaliation, a vomit of anger, a bloody shoot out because then schools won’t do the play. Which belies the point of writing it. Middle school is such a tightrope in that regard. At the end of the day, it’s better to have the play in the schools, being performed.
So, I thought I’d throw this out to you. Given the circumstances (it’s for Middle Schools performers/audiences, it can’t have a ‘and they all lived happily ever after ending,’ nor can it sound like a government statistics pamphlet) how would you end the play? What’s the most important message when it comes to this issue? What do you want relayed to a middle school audience? What is important to get across to that one kid who feels so alone and unable to see a way out of his/her situation?
The floor is open.