Tuesday, August 08, 2006


posted by Vonessa at 12:56 PM
Warning, if you haven't seen Back of the Throat yet and you are concerned about anything that might spoil the plot for you, don't read this blog.

That said, one night during the run a patron whispered "crybaby" at one of the actors on stage at the end of the play. This was said shortly after the government agents leave the battered and humiliated Khaled to "think it over". This may seem insensitive, but as all things should be, the seemingly insensitive and possibly immature comment of "crybaby" should be taken into context.

That evening we had a group of young men over from Eggleston Youth Center. Eggleston is a group home for 'at-risk' teenagers, ages 14 thru 18. Most of the young men who get placed there have had a run in with Law Enforcement at some point in time. Back of the Throat was the first piece of live theater that 14 of the 16 young men attending had ever seen. After the show the actors and director had a talk-back with the audience. After the talk-back the cast and director mingled with the audience as they all made their way out of the theatre. I was surprised when a couple of the young men from Eggleston's went out of their way to come up and talk to me. It was during these conversations I realized their 'context' of their crybaby comment.

In their enthusiasm for the play, these boys told me how similar the situation of the play was to experiences they had with police coming into their houses, pushing them around, and searching their personal things without warrants, and simultaneously treating them as if they were no better then convicted criminals. These kids did not even seem to know that their rights were being violated and certainly didn't feel they had the right to say "no." And when I asked them what they did after these incidents, they shrugged their shoulders. What can they do?

Both enlightening and troubling to think that this play was so understandable to these young men and that they viewed the interrogation experience as something so normal that anyone reacting emotionally to it was a 'crybaby.'


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