– by guest writer Lee Kaplan –
When I found my sixth grade journal, I knew I needed to speak out. In elementary school, I was bullied for — among other things — my love of acting in plays. What I read in my journal were detailed accounts of vicious, relentless attacks that took place that year and continued into seventh and eighth grades.
I thought the biggest, most powerful risk I could take would be to write and perform a play about what happened to me. I wanted to share this experience with a live audience.
I incorporated shadowboxing into my solo show to give me a way to finally fight back against the bullies that tormented me as a child.
It was another great risk — I’d never boxed a day in my life prior to starting my training last year. I wanted to see how far I could push myself to do something that truly scared me.
Bully premiered to two sold-out houses at Theatre Row in New York and was recognized for being the first show among the 100 shows in the festival to sell-out the house.
Martin Denton of nytheatre.org wrote: “Unabashedly autobiographical. The performance is as physical as any I’ve seen…” [Lee] is enormously engaging and empathetic.” And I was especially appreciative when Dr. Robi Ludwig, writing for the Huffington Post, said: “Lee’s will to find meaning and purpose from the pain of his youth seems to have worked.”
by Lee Kaplan
1021 7th Street NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Details and tickets
Earlier this year, we took Bully to two schools in Jacksonville, Florida and then returned to New York for a two-night limited run at the Access Theatre.
The real reward in producing and performing this show is the interaction with kids and adults, who often feel compelled to talk about their own bullying stories and abuse they suffered … or caused. The experience is especially powerful, given the growing awareness of the long-lasting effects of bullying.
One of the most touching moments for me happened shortly after a recent school performance when one of the 8th-grade girls approached me — arm-in-arm with her close friend — and said had she been there when this was happening to me, she would have been my friend.
This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.
— Guest writer Lee Kaplan is a New York actor, writer and producer. —
Part of Fringe Peeks, our “in their own words” series