Towards the Fear: An Exploration of Bullying, Social Combat, and Aggression is verbatim documentary theatre project created in collaboration with NYU students in Drama Therapy and Educational Theatre and performed at the Provincetown Playhouse in April 2014.

The play was produced as part of a larger performance series sponsored by the Drama Therapy program and supported by a grant from the Billy Rose Foundation. Student researcher-actors were trained in an interviewing protocol, and then over a three-week period interviewed 33 participants who responded to email inquiries, flyers, list-serv announcements, and online postings. Using seven open-ended prompts, interviewers asked participants to talk about their own understandings of and experiences with bullying, social combat, and aggression in childhood and to identify how those past moments affected and influenced their adult interactions with others. Once the interviews were completed and coded, the company collaborated to construct a verbatim documentary theatre script that encapsulated the recurring themes from the interviews.  Actors then used the written transcriptions, audio recordings, and field notes from the interviews to create verbatim performances of the sixteen participants featured in the script.

‘Towards the Fear’ is one of the most meaningful projects I’ve worked on, both artistically and personally. Joe is an incredibly skilled and patient facilitator and showed me the power of bridging research and art to spark dialogue around important issues and big questions.
— Liane Tomasetti, researcher-actor

C R E D I T S:

Barbara Kaynan (assistant director), Edward Bean (music composition), Evan Phoenix Kent (sound), Ryan VanDenBoom (movement consultant), Micaela Blei (dramaturgy), Daryl Embry (lighting), Robert Stevenson (projections), Cecilia Dintino (theraturgy), Lisa Hilt (stage manager), and Emma Rooney (assistant stage manager). Performers: Kyla Blocker, Darci Burch, Yulissa Hidalgo, Wanning Jen, Arielle Sosland, Nikolai Steklov, Liane Tomasetti, and Dennis Yacobucci. Video by Merelis Productions