PORTLAND - Middle-schoolers bullied by classmates are finding their voices through a contest at Oregon Children’s Theater.
“This is new to me I’ve never written a play,” said Cadie Godula.
Her script and five others were selected as winners from more than 60 entries in OCT’s Bully Project.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in four students will be bullied. It can happen through texting, on Facebook or the old-fashioned way in school hallways.
“Somebody slammed me in the coat room. They were constantly calling me names and stealing my stuff,” Jack Clevenger explained in a 10-minute script he called “Lunch in the Park.”
“Hey losers – got a new lunchbox I see,” he read from the pages.
“My play 'Once More from the Top' is kind of a satire style with a Dragnet-type narrator,” explained winning playwright Chloe Rust. “It has typical girl backstabbing. I’ve lost a lot of friends this year. It’s been tough.”
Eventually, each of the scripts will be available online through Oregon Children’s Theater.
“In elementary school, I was kind of a doormat,” remembered writer Cadie Godula.
In her play “Bullies,” she writes about a boy who cross-dresses.
“This is enough. Let me go already,” she reads. "Shut your mouth, you perfume princess."
“These pieces will help people empathize and if you can feel what it’s like to walk in someone’s shoes you’ll be less likely to bully,” said professional playwright Matthew Zrebski.
Zrebski and Debbie Lamedman were mentoring the students.
“Sometimes the writing is easy, but the rewrite can be difficult, honing it and making sure the message is clear,” Lamedman said.
The common theme for the plays is learning to stand up for yourself and take action, and “knowing when to say, 'That’s not cool,'” Godula said.
Six winning scripts from the Bully Project will be performed May 30 in the Black Box Theater at OCT.
“These emerging artists are learning their craft isn’t simply about entertainment. Great art of any kind provokes questions and can make an important point,” Zrebski said.