chapter  9
8 Pages

The Party

Understanding Status, Power, and Bullying through Gibberish and Body Language
WithJoe Norris

Mirror Theatre had a longstanding relationship with Expecting Respect, a peer education program sponsored by a number of Edmonton’s social service agencies, and “The Party” was initially written for our performance/workshop, Under Construction. “The Party” grew from conversations regarding the misuse of power. Although society’s attitudes regarding sexual orientation are changing, homophobia exists; some people put lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgendered individuals low on their status list. The senior grade has the highest status, and the lower grades have sequentially lower status. Audience members easily pick up that the male is younger than his female sibling. The status line is an easy structure to joker, because it initiates low-level engagement. As the conversation develops, opportunities emerge to move to forum theater, wherein audience members either redirect the scene or go on stage and try to enact it themselves.