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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, March 13, 2014

“Aftermath,” a touring production by OCC Theatre Arts students, is traveling to area high schools this spring. The performance, free to high school and community audiences, focuses on the problem of bullying among young people.

The campus is invited to a preview of the 25-minute performance on Friday, March 21, at 12:00 p.m. in the Drama Lab. Admission is free.

“The issue of bullying is very much in the public consciousness,” said Rick Golson, who teaches the touring theatre class. “We hope our production will help teach young people how to deal with this growing problem.”

The performance can take place in “just about any space whether it is a theater, multi-purpose room, or larger classroom. We travel with all our own props,” Golson said. Following the play, the 18-member student cast hopes to discuss bullying with their high school audiences. Cast members researched the topic and are looking forward to sharing their findings with audiences.

The touring production is also an opportunity to introduce high school students to OCC’s theatre arts program. Golson has lead the 24-year-old touring program for the past eight years. Topics have ranged from saving the wetlands, victims of Hurricane Katrina and Iraq war veterans.

“Aftermath” was written by Sean Wellengard, who graduated from OCC in 2005. He transferred to Cal State Fullerton, where he earned a bachelor degree in theatre education, and he also completed a master’s degree in playwrighting at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. The young playwright has already penned eight full-length plays, 46 one-acts and numerous monologues. Two of his full-length plays have been staged at OCC.

Golson asked Wellengard to write a short play for a large cast that illustrated the victimization with bullying. “With social media,” Wellengard explained, “bullying has evolved and rumors spread like wildfire. Bullies have also uploaded videos of themselves in the act as though they are displaying awards.”

He believes that everyone has experienced bullying, including the bullies themselves. His goal is to “start a campaign of giving a compliment a day” instead of an insult. “It seems simple,” he added, “but people find tearing others down easier than building them up.”

Wellengard is working part-time in OCC’s Scholarship Office, and he hopes to teach a playwrighting course on campus next fall. Eventually he would like to teach full-time.