6/13/2013 11:36 AM
George Cameron Grant has succeeded in creating a piece that teaches tolerance, the power of the language we use, and love. While the themes PUSH addresses are the heart of the piece, its dramatic value and structure are also outstanding. As someone who has produced and directed a touring production of the piece, I can say PUSH is a joy to stage and it is extremely effective. During our production of PUSH, I told my students that this play had the best ending I have read in a one-act play for many years.
The characters in are identifiable, the plot builds to a clear climax, and Mr. Grant has created a protagonist that immediately provokes empathy.
This is both a perfect piece for the classroom, as well as production. If you love Theater because you think it can change the world, please consider PUSH.
5/20/2013 10:42 AM
In a time when different kinds of programs are being implemented into schools (anti-bullying, gay-straight alliance, etc.) the one thing that can truly open peoples minds, and create discussion between students, parents, teachers, and faculty... is storytelling. George Cameron Grant had just that in mind when he sat down to write this play. George is a master storyteller, and knows the power storytelling has. Affected by the tragedy of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi having committed suicide due to bullying, George was compelled to take some kind of action. He knew if he were to write something, it could not be a stand-alone play that perhaps gets several performances and is never seen again. He knew he needed to write something that went beyond the normal theater experience (actors on a stage performing for a passive audience.) He knew it had to be interactive. This is Georges' heart. He could have appeased that desire within himself to "do something," by writing a play and leaving it at that. But he went way beyond. He wrote it and tirelessly marketed it to high schools as a tool for tolerance.
Having played the father in a production of PUSH, I have personally seen the impact it has afterwards. It truly gets the kids and adults talking about what they saw, how it relates to the reality of what they see on a daily basis, and what they can do to make it better. This is what theater was born to do. The production of PUSH I was part of remains a top experience for me as an actor.
Though strides have been made, there is still more to go in resolving the bullying issue. If PUSH could find its way into every high school everywhere, we just might be able to make a far bigger dent, and the lives of both those bullied, and the bullies themselves, could be a little better for it.
5/19/2013 12:48 PM
This play was extraordinary, not only as a production but as a tool for people of all ages to connect around issues of bullying, harassment, sexuality, and suicide. Preparing and performing the show was an incredible learning process because it necessitated intense discussions on the themes of the piece as well as how to simultaneously be true to the story and distance ourselves emotionally as actors from the sometimes hurtful things our characters had to say. It was also highly emotional and united our cast and crew, making memories that truly will last a lifetime. The importance of our production of PUSH was not in our accomplishments at the State Theatre Festival or even in meeting the playwright - it was in connecting with audiences, sharing a powerful message, and starting dialogues.