Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. The Redemption of Gertie Greene by Taryn Temple takes an upside-down look at bullying and the importance of standing up for those who can’t do it for themselves. This play is a not-to-be-missed dramedy for middle school students.
New student Gertie Greene is a bully. Gossip spreads like wildfire that she attacks kids in the bathroom, knocks down football players, and gets suspended all the time. Even teachers are afraid of her. Everyone’s talking about it so it must be true. But is she really a terrifying monster?
In The Redemption of Gertie Greene the truth comes out in the most unexpected ways. Is Gertie really what everyone calls her: a freak, strange, stupid, clumsy, and mean? Or can Mrs. Fillmore’s quirky drama students see past the scuttlebutt to discover the real person behind the rumors? As they separate fact from fiction, Gertie and her fellow drama students bring to light the transforming power of kindness, and the importance of standing up for people who can’t defend themselves.
Why did we publish this play?
Plays about bullying can leave a sour aftertaste, especially if the message has the bully stand up and accept the error of their ways. It just doesn’t happen that way in real life. And it’s not fair to say “bullying doesn’t happen” because it does happen. Every day. Bullying is a relevant topic in every school at every level. That’s why the backwards look at bullying in this play presents a refreshing change. It opens the door to conversation about the topic, which is what all issue plays should do. It’s not about solving the issue in 30 minutes. It’s about prompting the conversation to continue after the curtain goes down. Check it out.
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this play?
Middle school is tough. Kids are exploring the kind of person they want to be, who is “in” and who is “out” of their friend groups, and how they should treat others. I wanted kids to see their own struggles reflected in the characters in this play, and help them start conversations with other kids and with adults about what they are going through.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
It’s important to include people and stand up for others, especially those who can’t stand up for themselves.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
When each student in drama class stands up and gathers around Gertie one by one, recognizing her gifts and making her a part of the group. She’s been an outcast up until that point. It’s a lovely image of inclusion when the other students are finally the ones that stand up for her.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Use this play as a springboard to start conversations with your actors and crew about times they’ve felt like an outsider, how someone made them feel included, and how they can (appropriately) step in and help people when someone is being bullied.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
The situations in the play feel relatable and real to the actors so they buy in, plus it has some serious scenes to give young actors a chance to widen their range.
Not right for your group right now? Search our play catalogue to find one that your performers will love!
Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
Get on our list!