Acadia, Penobscot Theatre address bullying

Posted Nov. 03, 2010, at 9:37 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Acadia Hospital and Penobscot Theatre partnered to bring the play “Secret Life of Girls” to a community audience of more than 100 people at the Bangor Opera House on Tuesday night, then performed the play for nearly 1,000 area middle and high school students at Peakes Auditorium an Bangor High School on Wednesday.

The play is a dramatization of teenage angst, in which a window is opened into the tumultuous and destructive world of girls’ bullying. Playwright Linda Daugherty’s script covers issues including texting and cyberbullying.

“Over a two-day period of time we were able to provide community members, educational professionals and youth with an award-winning play that is sure to generate awareness and discussion around the timely topic of bullying,” commented Penobscot Theatre’s producing artistic director, Scott R.C. Levy.

The evening performance was offered to encourage adults to see the play and learn more about how to talk with young people about the subject. A parent discussion guide was distributed and the post-play discussion demonstrated what would be covered with the students the next day. Additionally, Acadia social worker Rick Redmond answered questions from the audience about bullying, parenting and youth wellness.

The school performances were followed by a role-playing exercise demonstrating how young people could become “defenders” using verbal strategies to minimize a bully’s power. The audience was also engaged in a discussion about the play and the situations the characters found themselves facing. Teachers were given an educator facilitation guide so the play could be explored further in the classroom.

Participating schools included the James Doughty and William Cohen middle schools in Bangor, as well as Albion Elementary, Bethel Elementary, Central High School, Glenburn Elementary, Hichborn Middle School and Milo Elementary.