The Ethnography of a Suicide. Maddy’s a Mess. These are titles of teen dramas appearing on Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter, as well as via live performance in malls, skateboard parks, cineplexes (and other places that teens congregate) across Denver, Colorado.
Created by Denver’s Face Project, these theatrical (yet realistic) dramas follow the intertwined lives of 8 characters, whose stories are revealed through online posts, tweets, uploaded photos and video. They touch upon some of the tougher issues of adolescence: bullying, date rape, suicide, drinking, humiliation and depression.
Bringing these conflicts to life is an ensemble of young actors who create 10-minute “flash scenes” — the most recent one, in November 2011, performed during lunch break at the Lowenstein Cultural Complex, a popular hangout across from Denver’s East High School. These bursts of theatre make use of music, poetry and movement to highlight the charged experiences of young adults.
The project is the brainchild of Janna L. Goodwin, Ph.D., a playwright, community-based theatre practitioner and communication professor at Regis University, who teamed up with Denver’s Modern Muse Theatre and its “Muse on the Move” outreach program.
We weren’t interested in making a one-dimensional finger-wagging or cautionary tale…We wanted to do something truly different, and to make central the ways that teenagers today use media. READ MORE