Puppet Musical About A Gay Teen Suicide Needs Support
Posted: 11/29/2011 - 15:00
The Brooklyn-based non profit Puppetry Arts is featured on the philanthropic website IndieGoGO. They are attempting to raise funding for two free public performances of the new musical Anthropomorphic.
Puppetry Arts will be showcasing Anthropomorphic in June of 2012, for teens and adult audiences, featuring the story of the impact of gay suicide and religion. Written by Executive Director Tim Young, Anthropomorphic is performed with large body puppet spiders, animatronic dragons, and actors in mask. As an arts organization that works primarily in puppetry, Puppetry Arts is often thought of strictly as a children's theatre. This is far from the case, says Young. "We are a puppetry arts organization- not a children's arts organization." Using the multidisciplinary art of puppetry, Young and his team have set the goal of providing visual and performing art program to all individuals including youth and families. This is accomplished through arts in education workshops in local schools, outreach at area shelters and foster care programs, theatre, and community events in area neighborhoods.
This extension of Puppetry Arts theatre outreach to the public carries a story line of social issues to ensure that the productions are relevant to the audience. "We want the project to mean something to the audience, and not just be theatre for the sake of theatre." Based on his experiences being bullied and beaten up by classmates, and having to face a family that put him down and defined for him who God was and who God loves, Anthropomorphic has become a means of self expression through puppetry and musical theatre that Young was not able to voice as a teenager. "There is no better way to start writing then with something you know and feel strongly about. And this is a very important issue." The musical has been in workshop since 2008, with workshop performances in 2009 & 2011 and has been funded by grants from numerous foundations, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
With a backdrop of the suicide of Wesley, a young gay teen, the musical occurs within the time between pulling the trigger and his death. Anthropomorphic shares the story of Wesley after his mother tells him that God cannot love a gay son and neither can she. Having been gay bashed and beaten by a group of men, and broken hearted by his mother, he takes his own life. The musical follows Wesley on his epic journey to find out what happens and where he goes after he dies, knowing that so many, including his mother, tell him that he is not someone to be loved, not even by "God."
Implications of the human condition of imposing lifestyle and morality onto one another is very similar to the definition of anthropomorphism, which imposes the values of a human onto something. As our culture moves into a time of change including the struggle for gay marriage rights, Anthropomorphic looks into the many challenges youth face as they mature, peeking into the dark side of gay suicide and the role the Far Right and religious institutions play.
According to a 1998 study by Mens Health America, Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide. 40% of gay men and 39% of gay women in the US had attempted or seriously thought about suicide. Gay youth are harassed 26 times a day on average/once every 14 minutes, and 28% of gay students will drop out of school.
The long-term goal is to continue to fund the growth of Anthropomorphic increasing its artistic merit and to introduce investors and support in order to place the production in a Manhattan theatre for a significant run. With support through this campaign, Young will be capable of producing Anthropomorphic for a weekend in June 2012, giving him the tools, space, and cast to strengthen the production which, in turn, will help continue to fulfill the goal of making it part of the New York theatre scene. The impact Anthropomorphic makes is measured by this outreach giving a voice to equality and by the artistic merit and success within the production and creative team behind it.
Puppetry Arts is seeking not only sponsors, but they are casting for musicians, the role of conductor, and performers to take part in this project. For details visit www.indiegogo.com and search Anthropomorphic or visit www.puppetryarts.org.
The indiegogo link:
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