The role of the By-Stander


Over a four week period Micheline will have seen a reading at a major regional theater, two days of rehearsals at UWF, at SUNY Brockport, and then she will see the performances of both schools. All of that stimulation is valuable. Each step and each person involved in the process adds to the strength of the script. I am grateful for that.

More and more I am grateful for the educational opportunities for the professional artists as well as the student artists involved in the program. Developing a script is a goal of the program. The primary goal is to develop artists.

This play is addressing sexual assault on a college campus. Sexual assault is not limited to a college campuses but that is where the play takes place. The fact that sexual assault and predators have become part of the national conversation makes the dialogue around the play more immediate for everyone. It has created a platform for these student artists to share their opinions on the topic and to have an artistic form to give expression to their thoughts and experience.bystander

In the play there is a chorus of what are referred to as ‘Bystanders’. One of the themes of the play is what is the role of the ‘by-stander’ in regards to issues of sexual assault. The chorus represents the audience, society, community, and in that case the entire campus. It is a great tool that Micheline has put into the play.

Scott got the idea of assigning the question to students in the class: What is the role of the by-stander?  Are they responsible for reporting it, stopping it, preventing behavior that encourages – what is the by-standers role in making the world safer?

The by-stander is not just about the idea of sexual assault. Are we active or passive by-standers in the production of a play? Are the students lending support in all areas of the play? Are they giving their voice to questions being asked? Are they making sure that props are found even when it doesn’t inform a scene they themselves are in? The  role of by-stander in every day life – what is our responsibility to our neighbor and are we acting within that role?

How do they behave as by-standers in their every day life?

These are great questions to ask. It may motivate them to work hard to make sure the production will be as strong as possible but it also helps to elevate the work of the play outside of just the theater and rehearsal room and makes it applicable to every day life.

I’m excited to hear what the students discover. However, I was more excited to examine the question myself. I know what my thoughts on the responsibility of the by-stander in regards to sexual assault are – I am nervous and excited to examine what my role as a by-stander in other aspects of my life.

That exciting personal challenge and discovery is what excites most about the process of development.

Talk with you soon.