Miranda #OFFSCENE on the Power of Sex Ed Onstage
“ARE YOU HERE ALONE?”
I let leak out of my mouth after this young looking woman grabs the seat next to me. We make eye contact and I realize she may be a bit older than I guessed.
“How old are you?” I splurt out before giving a second thought, wishing I could recoil my foolish words back into my mouth.
Stunned she chuckles, “How old am I? 37.”
I swear this woman looked 22 when she walked in. I was just so stoked to see another young person in the sea of wrinkles that I had to make conversation, now I just looked like an idiot.
“I’m so sorry, I thought you were much younger” Her skin was flawless let me tell you, could have fooled anyone.
Luckily she wasn’t offended and we had a long conversation about accessibility within the theatre world, it was truly dope and a perfect way to start this show experience. One thing that stuck out to me was when she said, “I don’t remember the last time I went to a show and was surrounded by a younger audience.”
THE PROBLEM IS REAL.
When I first read about Pathetic, I was all-in. Sounded totally up my alley: all about sex, sacrifices & teen dramaaaa, sign me THE f*ck up. I really expected the audience to be mostly millennial, but boy was I wrong. I think I was the only person under 30 there. Honestly, it’s cool to see people over 70 at anything other than a matinee- but when they’re the only thing you see, it starts to become an issue. There were a lot of 30 somethings there too which is cool, but with a show where they’re poking fun at teens, there was a lack of teens present.
YET THE TWO STORY REALLY
BRIDGED THE GAP BETWEEN OLDER & YOUNGER AUDIENCES
Which I admire so much. Only a few shows currently open right now put an effort in to blend two types of audiences, and this show motherf*cking killed it. It was weird as all hell, there was stabbing and gross ass teacher-student sex that made me gag (and not the good kind) but the humor, experimental portrayal, multimedia usage and dedicated actors all combined to create a conversation between two gens.
Dear Evan Hansen did start these conversations between parents and kids, but this show I applaud even more than Dear Evan Hansen because it was wacky and it was REAL and there was a lot of fantastical magic going on.
But most importantly I think it started a conversation about sex that really isn’t portrayed in education programs or media and it got me thinking.
WOULD THEATRE BE A SUCCESSFUL METHOD
OF EDUCATING OUR YOUTH ON THE REALITIES OF SEX?
Although I wouldn’t tell the education department of middle schools to hold field trips to this exact show, I believe strongly this is a dope way to capture young people’s attention when it comes to the taboo concept of sex. It’s a way to relate and normalize topics that are made to feel forbidden.
We gotta be straight up with these little creatures about what sex is and how our bodies change and develop. Shaming and punishing kids for having urges and wanting to explore is pointless, instead we just have to mentally, emotionally and physically prepare them of the potential consequences, while also informing them of what to expect.
CONSTANTLY TELLING ANYONE NOT TO DO SOMETHING
ONLY MAKES REBELLING MORE DELICIOUS.
Sitting these young ass kids in a classroom and forcing them to watch cringey puberty videos made from the Prehistoric era ain’t helping anyone.
Plus in the age of the internet, almost every kid that grows up is attached to an iPad or can hop on a laptop with ease. This is good in many ways because if used correctly access to the internet allows access to a wealth of knowledge, but also allows access to the many dark sides of the web including porn. Believe it or not, porn is educating kids about sex more than schools or parents combined, and I can’t think of anything less genuine, less accepting & MORE misogynistic than porn.
It’s an unfortunate truth, but everyone has access to porn, meaning as much as you want to hide your kids from being exposed to R rated material, they are learning what physical love is from this unauthentic and demeaning source whether you like it or not.
THE ONLY WAY TO FACE THIS ISSUE IS TO ADDRESS PORN AS WHAT NOT TO DO
WHEN RESPECTING YOUR BODY AND SOMEONE ELSE’S.
You can’t really erase porn from the internet, or change how porn is created (even though many female directors are doing this, shoutout Erika Lust) but you can say this isn’t the only way sex is. Being real and trusting our youth is the only way they’ll be able to safely explore and trust themselves.
This is something I am extremely passionate about and although it would be fought against by every conservative still kicking, I really don’t give a flying f*ck. Obviously the system implemented right now is NOT doing a good job because:
STDS ARE AT AN ALL TIME HIGH & WE STILL GOT
MOTHERF*CKERS PREACHING ABSTINENCE!
NOW moving on to my point: Pathetic sparked my interest in seeing if sex education is being portrayed on stage and led me to discover a pretty dope organization that is teaching our youth the truth about sexual intercourse in an accessible manner.
A company called: SExt or Sex Education by Theatre is achieving major success in using the interactive artform of theatre to empower youth and help them realize the humanity within sexual relationships. They believe theatre is the ideal tool because,
“THEATRE IS A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND INVITES YOUTH TO INVEST IN
THEIR OWN LEARNING BY BECOMING A DYNAMIC PART OF IT”
and by doing this it makes the material digestible and relatable. In 2014 their original goal was to “change the way we think about and teach sexual education” and it hasn’t diverted since. Originally a grassroots campaign, they were soon funded by CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention while also partnering with a school in Ontario. Since 2014 they have performed at multiple festivals and went a few tours to perform for over 7,500 high school students in total.
Plus they’ve created some dope ass music videos that tackle the topics of consent and partner violence. Not only does this group focus on gender roles, consent, safer sex, and abuse but also homophobia and racism.
THEY HOLD WORKSHOPS AND NOW HAVE PROGRAMS THAT
ENGAGE THE YOUTH WITH USING MODERN AND IMMERSIVE TECHNIQUES
LIKE POETRY, RAPS, SONGS AND SKITS.
Their feedback and surveys all proved to be positive and successful with impacts on personal and social development around sexual health. This is a perfect blend of art and education and the power they have when they work hand in hand. It’s something I know will make changes, and something I know I want to take part in. So shout out to SExt, you are killing the game, now come to NYC!
Overall Pathetic did do a good job of conceptualizing and normalizing sex and our bodies without having to shriek it at the audience. Sure there was sex onstage (faked of course) and a scene where the mom was full on nude, but I didn’t question it once because the production manifested a believable world through storytelling and character development. It was all normal.
This show not only broke a barrier between younger and older audience members, but it managed to capture a magical world in a realistic way. It was f*cked up, dark and had me gasping at times, but I honestly have never seen anything like it.
I commend Minor Theater highly for this production and thank them for getting me to think about theatre sex education. I hope they continue to illustrate lustful bloody plays moving forward because they got one b*tch who’s gonna be at every one. (me, I'm that one b*tch.. its me ok?)
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS THEATER COMPANY,
THEY DOING IT RIGHT.