Bullied, ridiculed, misunderstood and gay. This was the life of Cumberland, RI high school student Aaron Fricke, a teenager whose unprecedented civil actions forever changed the lives of gay and lesbian students.
Boston Children’s Theatre will be the first children’s theater in the country to produce the world premiere play "Reflections of a Rock Lobster," about a gay teenager and his fight to defend his life and preserve his civil rights in the wake of bullying, prejudice and intolerance.
"Reflections of a Rock Lobster" will featuer the talents of 14-year-old Boston resident Joy Kozu, who attends Pollard Middle School. In addition to working with Boston Children's Theatre, Kozu has appeared on stage in “A Christmas Carol” with Our Place Theatre, “Our Town” at Pollard Middle School, and in numerous stage and film productions with Expressions LLC. A talented dancer, she is experienced in both ballet and hip-hop.
In addition to a student cast of 27 actors from 20 area communities and Sweden, the production also features veteran Boston stage actors Paula Plum, Richard Snee, Doug Bowen-Flynn and Allan Mayo. Performances will be held in the Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston on March 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11.
Based on the true story of Aaron Fricke, and adapted by Boston Children's Theatre Executive Artistic Director Burgess Clark for the stage, "Reflections of a Rock Lobster" is a compelling and entertaining production about tolerance, understanding and acceptance. The year is 1980 and Aaron is gay. Being gay makes Aaron different. With that stigma, he is subjected daily to violence and rejection—leaving him feeling dejected and with thoughts of suicide. Rising from his despair, Aaron strikes back by suing his Rhode Island high school for the right to escort his boyfriend to the prom. By standing up for his personal and civil rights and for refusing to apologize for who he is, Aaron not only wins in court, but he also wins in the hearts and minds of his peers and his community. His strength and ultimate victory help pave the way for legions of gay and lesbian students.
Currently living in San Francisco, Fricke is working closely with Boston Children's Theatre on the production.
“I am thrilled that a new generation of young people is being introduced to my story,” Fricke said. “To be honest, it’s not really my story, it’s everyone’s story. I think everyone will be able to relate to what I experienced. The fact that bullying and prejudice still exist today in our society makes this play even more relevant and powerful.”
An important chapter of civil rights history, "Reflections of a Rock Lobster" is told with humor and great sensitivity.
“As one of the America's oldest children's theatres, Boston's Children's Theatre is extraordinarily proud to lead the national charge for greater understanding, healing and harmony among today's youth,” said Clark, who is also directing the production. “By enlightening audiences with positive messages about tolerance and acceptance, we hope to encourage families and students to talk more openly about the emotional and physical effects of bullying and how we can all prevent it from happening in our communities.”
Tickets to the Boston Children's Theatre production of "Reflections of a Rock Lobster" cost $35 and can be purchased by visiting the website, www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org or calling the box office at 617-424-6634 ext. 222. High school groups can also reserve tickets for weekday performances by contacting the BCT Box Office.
"Reflections of a Rock Lobster" contains mature subject matter and content. Boston Children's Theatre recommends parental discretion.