DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dating violence, bullying, eating disorders – those are just some of the touchy subjects that teenagers face on a daily basis. Even thinking about these topics can leave parents wondering how to keep their kids safe. But a North Texas theater group is allowing teens to ‘act out’ in hopes of finding the answer.
The Dallas Children’s Theater is holding a special festival of performances this week. Each play addresses a sensitive teen topic in order to generate a conversation between teens and parents. Real life issues take center stage, and uncomfortable topics play out under the spotlight.
“It’s kind of raw,” said Highland Park student Kelly Brooks, “and scary to see what really goes on.”
The series of provocative and powerful plays, driven by social issues, are the creation of Linda Daugherty. She saw a need for such topics to be brought into the light, and decided to use the stage as a way to open a dialogue between teens and parents. “All of these issues, people tend to be embarrassed about whatever their differences are, and they hide them as secrets,” the playwright said. “When we don’t share them with other people and we don’t seek help, then oftentimes kids spiral down and we get into real trouble.”
Daugherty is not afraid to push the envelope and take the audience to uncomfortable places with gritty and real dialogue. “Sure, it’s awkward,” Brooks said. “But in the end, it’s something worth talking about and the plays encourage the dialogue.”
The play’s raw words can hopefully spark a conversation, allow parents to get a better insight into the real life drama of the high school dynamic, and then ultimately lead to positive changes. Daugherty said, “I want them to have information. I want them to know how hard it is to be a teen. And I want them to start talking.”
This is the fifth year that the Dallas Children’s Theater has presented such plays. Each year, Daugherty has added a new topic to the lineup. At the end of each play, doctors are available to answer any questions that teens or parents may have about the performance’s content.