Over the past few decades, the bully has become somewhat of an icon. Whether it was their use as fodder in formulaic 80’s teen movies, or the much more dire example of Matthew Shepard’s death at the hands of the prejudiced, their presence is secured among the American psyche.
The behavior of bullying is fascinating to me. As human beings, our minds have enabled us to advance at a pace unparalleled by any life we have observed, yet this rapid growth comes at a price. Our marked progress can sometimes obfuscate the reality of the human situation; we are a relatively young species still finding the balance between society and autonomy on a personal level.
Often overlooked, our innate instincts, urges, and desires influence us on a daily basis, as our civilized selves attempt to reconcile with our animalistic roots. Freud called this the id. Group forming is an essential element of developmental psychology, and may even constitute one’s identity, But does the formation of a group necessitate the alienation of others?
It seems to me that it is a recurring pattern that most instances of bullying are based on two human processes: confusion, and fear. It therefore makes the most sense to me, to approach the issue of bullying prevention with the objective of informing people, and assuaging their fears.
When I first came into contact with What’s the Benefit INC., I related to the idea of using theater as a medium to accomplish these goals. To me, all mediums have their strong suits, (film has spectacle, Literature captures the readers imagination, music is rhythmic, instinctual, and culturally significant, and so on...) but it is the metaphysical reality of the stage that allows it to communicate effectively with the audience! Theater is personal. Theater is real.
It is for this reason I chose to document the events surrounding the staging and performance of Weaker People: A Dangerous Notion. It is my goal to explore, in a film, the relationship between the visceral experience of seeing human beings personally act out this drama, and effecting change in a society that is over-saturated with information, yet alarmingly obtuse.
We now stand at a crossroads, if we become able to love and understand one another, we will honor what makes us human.
Andrew J. Diederich
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