In the haunting, futuristic tale Look Me in the Eye by Lindsay Price, good behaviour comes at a price. Teenagers in the future are obedient, polite, and respectful. This is due in large part to the government-required “Observation Sessions.” But there is a dark underside to this utopian vision.
After learning her brother is scheduled to be “observed,” one of the most obedient students starts to question the system. She must decide whether to remain obedient or speak out and face the consequences.
Led by Monika Rzezniczek, along with student director, Amanda Lok, the performers at Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario made their production of this haunting, harrowing tale a completely student-led and driven success.
This spring one of my senior classes entered Look Me in the Eye by Lindsay Price in the local festival. It is my first year teaching Drama and I took a big risk because the students at our school have never performed a play, and therefore had no acting or production experience. They got a standing ovation at the festival and the student director won the festival’s Excellence in Directing Award, and one of the girls won an Excellence in Acting Award.
Student director, Amanda Lok, shared her thoughts on her directorial debut:
This play questions what makes us human. In it, we can identify our human characteristics, such as the courage to stand up and speak or challenge the tyrants in power. In this play you will meet five teenagers who live in a futuristic authoritarian society where people are afraid of the government and afraid to stand up and freely speak their minds. They are constantly under surveillance and crime is dealt with swiftly and in a terrifying way. Each character copes with this reality in a different way. Just as there are many different people in this world, there are many different ways people respond to situations. Some people find ways to benefit. Others become desensitized.
Some relish in the violence. Some live in constant, agonizing fear. There are also some who struggle to deal with the morality of the situation and are willing to risk their lives to be oppose it. In this play, you will see all of those aspects of humanity. We hope this play makes you grateful for the freedoms you enjoy. We also hope it makes you empathize with those people around the world who do not have the same freedom.
Amazing job to the entire team at Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute!
*Photo credit: Monika Rzezniczek and Steven Giang
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