The Transylvania Times -

BLT Play Addresses Issue Of Bullying


March 1, 2011

In an effort to focus attention on the issue of bullying, Brevard Little Theatre opened its season Friday with the timeless drama "Tea and Sympathy."

Recent events reported by the media have illustrated how bullying and abuse can impel victims to withdraw, isolate themselves and even attempt suicide. Such events have spurred campaigns such as "Stop the Bullying," "Stop Bullying Now," and the "It Gets Better Project." Movements such as these have helped to expose the problems that are created when people are judged through stereotypes or because the simply differ from the majority.

Although written in 1953, this play resonates well with today's issues of intolerance and insensitivity.

"Tea and Sympathy" strikes a sensitive, harmonic chord with anyone who has ever been picked on or bullied because they didn't match others' definitions of what was "normal." Intense and thought-provoking, it follows the plight of a lonely, misunderstood, teenaged boy whose interests in music and theater don't fit his boarding school's long-standing culture of "guyhood." The distressing relationships with his father, classmates and teachers serve as both backdrop and reinforcement for an emotional attachment to the sympathetic wife of a faculty member.

Oscar-nominated playwright and screenwriter Robert Anderson ("I Never Sang for My Father," "The Nun's Story," "The Sand Pebbles") introduced "Tea and Sympathy" to Broadway in 1953. It became a huge hit, setting a record for any Playwrights Company production with 712 performances; it subsequently went on tour, was adapted for a 1956 MGM film, and provided modern theater with one of its most quotable last lines.

Brevard Little Theatre has invited student groups from the county high schools attend the production. The show will play Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for full time students. Due to mature themes and language, parental guidance is advised for children under the age of 13.


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