Shannon Wooley & Trina Fischer in Choices.
Photo-Looking for Lilith


Choices (an interactive play on cyberbullying and suicide) 

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company

Review by Rachel White

Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Rachel White. All rights reserved.

I remember my first bully. I was in fifth grade.  His name was Chad. He had small dark eyes, olive skin, a bowl haircut, and a prematurely masculine voice. He was popular, he was astute, and he was mean.  He moved to my table half way through the year.  He proceeded to tell me every day how much he hated me, how ugly I was, how stupid.   He liked to shout in my face when I was concentrating to make me jump and make the other kids laugh. He made fun of anyone who tried to be my friend, and left me voiceless and isolated for the remainder of the year. At the time, I knew of no other option than to tolerate the abuse. I was afraid that if I told someone, the bullying would get worse. In some ways I was lucky. This was the mid ‘90s, the days before Skype, Facebook, Snap Chat, and the internet, so the cycle ended with the move to middle school, where thankfully we were never placed in the same class again. For many kids today, the taunting doesn’t stop at school, but follows them home, onto their Twitter feeds, their Facebook pages, and their IMs. There is simply no escape when a bully digs in.

What is brilliant about Looking for Lilith’s show Choices (an interactive play about cyber bullying and suicide), is that it gives the control back to the students by dispelling the myth that kids will be kids and there’s nothing you can do about a bully. The smart insight they have is that the power to curb the insidious problem of cyber bullying lies with the kids themselves, not necessarily with their parents or teachers. Lilith’s teaching tool of choice is, of course, a highly interactive theater media piece. The show asks the audience to question the actions of the protagonist and to suggest better choices for her in regard to the bullying. The play was commissioned by Make a Difference for Kids whose founder lost a child to cyber-bullying.

Two adult actors Shannon Woolley, and Trina Fischer act out the short play. Fischer plays the central character, Hannah, an average high school teenager, who finds herself the victim of a cyberbully.  Allison plays the other parts, mother friend, teacher, and the mysterious bully. The bully’s vicious taunts of “whore” and “bitch” appear on a Smart Board in the form of texts, Instant Messages, and web pages. At one point a fake Facebook page is created for Hannah, and on her wall are posted a series of disparaging and sexually suggestive posts. Hannah becomes isolated, and eventually develops severe depression.  The language of the piece is edgy, the players admit, but it is also realistic.  It is the group’s willingness to embrace that reality that makes the show so strong and effective. The play doesn’t condescend. It doesn’t offer easy solutions.

The second part of the piece is a talk back session in which the audience interacts with the play, standing in for Hannah, and making the choices they wish she had made.  With each “different choice”, a new complication arises.  When an audience member suggests turning off the computer, Hannah gets a mean text instead. The idea is that kids can strategize better ways to approach the issue of cyber bullying. The show ends with a discussion about the teenage brain and how it differs from the adult brain. Teens struggle to imagine a reality beyond the one they are living, and because of this are very vulnerable to severe depression and suicide.  A victim of cyber bullying can often feel desperate and out of control.

I would have enjoyed seeing this show with a group of students in the audience, to experience the full impact of the work on the kids. The work was compelling in and of itself, but was missing something without the students. I imagine their reactions are very positive, as the performers are open, warm and engaging. The material is on a high school level but feels mature, and the situations are, of course, all too real.


Choices (an interactive play on cyberbullying and suicide)

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company

Performing at Vault 1031 September 8, 2014

For booking information and fees please contact:
Jennifer Thalman Kepler, Community Outreach Director



Rachel White

[box_light]Rachel White received her MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama, and her BA in English and Dramatic from Centre College. Her plays have been produced in New York at The New School, the Midtown International Theatre Festival and the American Globe Theater, in Los Angeles at Moving Arts Productions and the Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA. In Louisville, she has had productions at the Slant Culture Theatre Festival, the Tim Faulkner Gallery, and Finnigan Productions. She is a recipient of the Litwin Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, and was recently a semi-finalist in the Labute New Theater Festival. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Playwrights Gallery in New York.[/box_light]