Since November, I’ve indulged in my first stage management project in Buffalo for the new theatre company, Green Buffalo Productions (GBP.) Three of my dearest friends started the company in April 2018 with the goal of producing original work by local and regional playwrights and poets. In a city that produces so much popular, mainstream theatre, there’s no other company that is producing new work like they are in Buffalo.
So, what new show are they producing?
I’m glad you asked!!
The semi-autobiographical play, “You & Me: The (Mostly) True Story of the Day Before my Senior Prom,” follows the relationship between Tori and Geoff from their awkward but happy moment at freshmen year orientation, to the day before senior prom where even the thought of Geoff pushes Tori to her limit. This 90 minute production takes you on a journey through young love, relationship violence and abuse, conflict, heartache, friendship and figuring out what to do once you reach your breaking point as a teenager. Through the perspective of Tori, we slowly connect all the pieces to the puzzle that leads her to ask for help the day before prom.
When I first read the script, its format reminded me of the musical, “Fun Home.” Obviously, they don’t have the same exact format but going from past to present Alison in “Fun Home” and demonstrating how she got to where she is, it’s structured like that for “You & Me.” The present day scenes set up for the scenes that take place in the past to give the arc of the story more depth and understanding. Usually in theatrical shows, whether they’re plays or musicals, they open up to a moment in time. You see the characters as they are without ever necessarily knowing how their story began or how their story ends.
In this show, audience members will receive all the information they need from beginning to end. Nothing’s left out, nothing’s left unsaid. It’s raw, it’s real and most importantly, it’s relatable. This production and story will leave audience members connecting the dots and starting a conversation once the final words are spoken.
Not only is this piece autobiographical, it’s a piece of theatre for social change.
In the time of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, talking about sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape is the forefront of the fight. GBP producing “You & Me” is giving a voice to survivors who wouldn’t otherwise get one. And this story takes place during high school, a pivotal moment for social and physiological development for teenagers who are just beginning to gain their own opinions, viewpoints and voice in this massive world. I don’t know of any recent established works that give a voice to a teenage girl who’s been through hell and back, literally.
More importantly, violence towards girls during the teenage years is not uncommon, actually, it’s more common than one would think. According to Love is Respect:
- One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
- One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
Most of the depictions of abuse in “You & Me” are subtle, just like how they happen in real life. Words spoken by our talented, driven and passionate company of actors were said in real life, exact verbatim.
Why exactly were those words said? Some of that we don’t know.
Why do people abuse and manipulate other people? Sadly, no one exactly knows that either…
This show is going to ring the bell louder and hit closer to home whether you’ve been in a toxic relationship or experienced intimate partner violence. Even if you haven’t personally experienced those things, you might connect with the reality of what happens when you ask for help or the feeling of almost losing your best friend. Maybe you’ll relate to its illustration and honesty of mental health. Maybe it’s something personal from high school that you didn’t think would resonate after so many years from this production. Most of all, anyone who sees this show will know they’re not alone.
It’s a show everyone should see in a time where violence against women is a continuous, rising international issue. It’s a show that will make you ask questions. A show that will make you want to turn the other way, like when you see a bad car accident, but you just can’t. It’s a show that will make you laugh (even with this show’s subject matter, there are moments of appropriate laughter, I promise!), it will make you think, it will make you uncomfortable, it will make your blood boil, it might even make you cry. But again, it will show you that you’re not alone in any connection you have with this show and this story.
The point of theatre for social change is to talk about all the issues that are pinned uncomfortable. Those topics that we should push under the rug, this show is giving the proper light and opportunity for further discussion. “You & Me” shouldn’t be an easy show to watch or listen to. The only way we make a change in this world is by facing the problem head on and looking at how we can individually make a change in our lives to impact the bigger picture. If we keep the conversation going once the show is over, we’ve done our job.
I’ve watched this show grow from start: auditions, casting the show, notating every single change and movement made on stage. I’ve seen the cast grow with their characters, bringing this story to life and giving justice to the subject matter. It’s evolved from the page to the stage and in just nine days (eight, actually) we’ll have an audience. I’ve worked on many shows over the years and to begin 2019 stage managing “You & Me” is an honor and the best way to begin my year of theatre. It’s a show not to be missed by an up-and-coming theatre company in the Buffalo area.
All information pertaining to the show and tickets can be found at Green Buffalo Production’s website by clicking this link. We hope to see you there; you won’t want to miss it!
DISCLAIMER: ‘You and Me: The (Mostly) True Story of the Day Before my Senior Prom’ includes direct examples of and illusions to intimate partner violence. Characters experience and discuss issues of emotional, mental and physical abuse. Explicit language, may not be suitable for anyone under 16.