Boston Children's Theatre (BCT) has announced the return of the critically acclaimed play REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER. Based on the autobiography by Aaron Fricke, and adapted by BCT Executive Artistic Director Burgess Clark for the stage, REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER is the true story of a gay teenager and his fight to defend his life and preserve his civil rights in the wake of bullying, prejudice and intolerance.
In March 2012, BCT became the first children's theater in the country to address the issues of bullying and growing up gay in a mainstage production. "We knew it was a risk to produce a new work that focused on these sensitive themes, but it was a risk we were willing to take because of the importance of the message," revealed Clark, who is also directing the production. "The play has had a tremendous impact on our audiences and the community. The ground swell of support was so strong that we felt a responsibility to produce the show again for an even broader audience."
Bullied, ridiculed, misunderstood and gay. This was the life of Cumberland, Rhode Island high school student Aaron Fricke, a teenager whose unprecedented civil actions forever changed the lives of gay and lesbian students. The year is 1980 and as an openly gay high school student, Aaron is subjected daily to violence and rejection--leaving him feeling dejected and with thoughts of suicide. Rising from his despair, Aaron strikes back by suing his Rhode Island high school for the right to escort his boyfriend to the prom. By standing up for his personal and civil rights and for refusing to apologize for who he is, Aaron not only wins in court, but he also wins in the hearts and minds of his peers and his community. His strength and ultimate victory help pave the way for legions of gay and lesbian students.
Currently residing in San Francisco, Fricke has continued to work closely with BCT since the World Premiere last season. "I was overwhelmed by the reaction to the piece from the public and from school groups. This production has sparked incredible and insightful discussions and I'm extremely proud of the impact the play has had on the community," said Fricke. "I think everyone is able to relate to what I experienced. The fact that bullying and prejudice still exist today in our society, makes this play even more relevant and powerful."
Nominated for 2 IRNE Awards and a 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script, REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER has been gaining national attention since its premiere. In support of this powerful production, Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon said, "The largest challenge one can face is to lead an authentic life when to do so is to be isolated from our "tribe", your peers, especially at a time when that "tribe" seems to be everything. To stand up takes great courage and it is important to celebrate such courage." Broadway aficionado Seth Rudetsky admits he was "obsessed" with the play and has encouraged his fans to "come see the show in Boston.
Locally, BCT was named Best of Boston by Boston Magazine for producing a work that "defines what a children's theater company ought to be." Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino also recognized the importance of bringing this production to the public. "I applaud Boston Children's Theatre for producing a play that addresses issues that have such a profound impact on our community," said Mayor Menino. "Bullying, prejudice and anti-gay sentiments cannot be tolerated in our schools or in our society. 'Reflections of a Rock Lobster' teaches us all the importance of acceptance and tolerance in an entertaining, creative and powerful way. I congratulate their efforts and I encourage everyone to experience this ground-breaking production."
REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER will be performed by students between the ages of 14 and 19 alongside several adult actors. The student cast includes Arlington resident Hannah Doyon; Boston resident Elias Duncan; Braintree resident Rachel Padell; Brookline residents Emma Baxendale and Felix Teich; Cambridge residents Ellie Brelis, Lily Keats and Lily Steven; Dover resident Paul McCallion; Durham, NH resident Olivia Clark; Boston resident Shayna Bredbeck; Medford resident Lauren Tomaszczuk; Milton residents Garrett Sager and Alexandra Upton; Newton resident Julia Fein; Quincy residents Ellis Hampton, Nick McNeil, Jeremy Mele and Niamh O'Connor; Rockport resident Tom Rash; Roslindale resident Joy Kozu; Sandwich resident Megan McMahon; Sherborn resident Ainsleigh Caldicott; Weston resident Larson Miller; and Winchester resident Caroline Ver Planck.
The adult cast features Richard Snee as 'Walter Fricke;' Doug Bowen-Flynn as 'PrincipAl Richard Lynch;' Kippy Goldfarb as 'Loretta Fricke,' June Kfoury as 'Marie Cote;' Nate Punches as 'Ronald Chase;' Ed Carlo as 'John Delaney;' and Arthur Waldstein as 'Judge Pettine.'
Performances will be in the Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, MA on March 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. Tickets are $35.00 and $25.00 and can be purchased by visiting the BCT website at www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org or calling the Box Office at 617-933-8600. REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER is supported in part by BNY Mellon.