The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Awkward Stage Drama takes on anti-bullying campaign


October 16, 2019

Kim E. Strom/Daily Globe

Members of the Awkward Stage Drama Club read their parts for the play "Rutherford Wolf," Tuesday. The play by Thomas Hischak puts a different spin on an old fairy tale classic. Pictured left to right in front are: Owen Basso, Haley Agee, Alyssa Lewis, Kaley Lewis, Emily Dums and Miah Billie. From left to right in back are: Alexander Hunt, Hanna Castillo, Chloe Myers, Noah Hofstede, Vinnie Triggiano and Phoebe Napier.


Ironwood - The Awkward Stage Drama Club is not just practicing to put on a play or two. The club is working toward a much bigger goal - an anti-bullying campaign. The club is comprised of sixth through 12th graders who are learning that there are two sides to every story. Through alternative fairy tales, the kids learn to consider the point of view of the often infamous bullies.

Currently the group is working to put on "Beanstalk," another version of an old classic. Next will be "Rutherford Wolf." Eventually, the club will practice to perform "Shrek" in October of 2020 at the Historic Ironwood Theatre. Casting will begin in March, according to drama club director Mary Hansen. In "Shrek" the ogre, who is at first mean and crabby, learns in the end to open his heart, said Hansen.

Flagstar Bank has provided a $5,000 grant through the Ironwood Carnegie Library for the production of "Shrek." Hansen hopes to involve local dance and band students as well.

Another part of the project will be having the drama club members read fairy tales to children at the Carnegie Library. Hansen has two reasons for doing this. The first is she feels that kids are less likely these days to be familiar with them, and second, if the younger children become more familiar with the characters in "Shrek" such as Pinocchio, The Pied Piper and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they will better understand the message in the play "Shrek."

"Shrek" talks about rewriting fairytales and rewriting our own stories, said Hansen. When kids are asked who they think the bully was in the story, they are then asked what they think their point of view was. For example, the wolf in "Rutherford Wolf" was not trying to blow the little pigs' houses down. He was trying to blow out a fire.

"Just because someone says, 'you're bad' doesn't have to mean you can't write your own story, or have someone better understand your story," said Hansen. Part of the campaign is promoting awareness that we don't always know the back story, she said. "When a kid gets a reputation, it's hard to change. We need to give them a chance. We need to get other people thinking, to step back and ask why or how," she said.

For the drama club members, class has been all inclusive and a good lesson in acceptance of differences, according to Hansen. "It's a group where every kid is accepted," she said adding that kids tend to be honest, but they learn to say things in a nice way to each other.

Chloe Meyers said of getting together for the club, "It's like a bunch of us hang out with a script." Although it's a lot of fun, they know when to be serious as well. "The performance always works out," she said.

Haley Agee agreed. "We all grow as a family," she said. Her favorite part of being in plays is the audience. "They laugh at things you don't expect them to." And when one laughs, the whole theatre laughs, she said.


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