Men­tal Health and Ad­dic­tions Aware­ness play tack­les cy­ber bul­ly­ing

‘Here and There and Them and Us’ plays Thurs­day, April 27 at Gar­rick

The Packet (Clarenville) - - EDITORIAL - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS THE PACKET BON­AV­ISTA

On Thurs­day night, April 27, theatre go­ers will be treated to an orig­i­nal, lo­cal play — one that also deals with very im­por­tant sub­ject mat­ter that can in­form as well as en­ter­tain.

Again this year, Tip-A-Vista Well­ness Foun­da­tion’s Men­tal Health and Ad­dic­tions Aware­ness com­mit­tee is pre­sent­ing a play for the pub­lic.

“Here and There and Them and Us” is an play, writ­ten and di­rected by Tony Ryan, and per­formed by stu­dents of Dis­cov­ery Col­le­giate. Carol Ab­bott is the as­sis­tant di­rec­tor, while Ken Butt is lend­ing a hand and con­sult­ing with some act­ing ad­vice as well.

The play is about the im­pact of cy­ber bul­ly­ing, par­tic­u­larly on young peo­ple and their men­tal state.

Al­though he’s only in Grade 10, this is Ben Cal­la­han’s fourth year act­ing in the school drama club.

Cal­la­han plays one of “Them” in the play — a type of cho­rus, which rep­re­sents the many neg­a­tive im­pacts young peo­ple face to­day from peers and online.

In an in­ter­view with The Packet, Cal­la­han talked about the im­por­tance of ad­dress­ing pow­er­ful is­sues like bul­ly­ing and sui­cide in plays such as “Here and There and Them and Us”.

“I don’t think it’s talked about a whole lot in society. It’s kind of a taboo thing, I guess. No­body re­ally wants to talk about it, but in a lot of places sui­cide and men­tal health is­sues seem to be on the rise,” he said.

“These peo­ple are speak­ing out about it more and we are try­ing to show our sup­port for that.”

He says, when deal­ing with plays with these types of sub­ject mat­ter, you have to be aware it can be a sen­si­tive topic for much of the au­di­ence, in ad­di­tion to those ac­tu­ally in­volved in the play it­self.

“I guess it’s hard to get into the char­ac­ter,” said Cal­la­han. “You try not to of­fend any­one, but try to bring aware­ness to it.”

He hopes any­one who de­cides to at­tend the play is at least made more aware of men- tal health prob­lems in society.

“Cy­ber bul­ly­ing is ev­ery­where,” said Cal­la­han.

“(With) any type of so­cial me­dia, you’re go­ing to see cy­ber bul­ly­ing. Some peo­ple in the au­di­ence might not even be aware of what cy­ber bul­ly­ing is.

QSo I’d like for them to know … the ef­fects it has on peo­ple.”

“Here and There and Them and Us” is play­ing at The Gar­rick Theatre in Bon­av­ista on Thurs­day, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Cost of ad­mis­sion is a free-will of­fer­ing.

JONATHAN PAR­SONS PHOTO

A re­hearsal for “Here and There and Them and Us” — a play pre­sented by Dis­cov­ery Col­le­giate and the Men­tal Health and Ad­dic­tions Aware­ness com­mit­tee.

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