Human, a musical that grapples with sexual identity, is being staged by the Bridgetown Theatre Company at high schools and colleges this month.
It is set at Glitz High School where pupils are excited about the approaching matric dance. Tracy is an openly transgender girl who is loved and supported by everyone. Graham is a closeted gay boy hoping to gain the courage to come out and tell his conservative dad.
When Graham asks Tracy to be his partner for the dance, all hell breaks loose at school and at home, and the two must decide whether they will be true to themselves or bow to society’s norms.
Matthew Poole, 24, from Bridgetown, who plays the role of Tracy, says the 30-minute show supports the LGBTQ+ community and encourages parents to talk about sexual identity with their children.
Many high-school pupils fear being victimised at home, at school, and in their communities if they come out, he says.
“We don’t want them to grow older and then regret that they did not come out sooner,” he says. “Parents need to be open, to become educated on the topic and comfortable to discuss it with their children.”
Jesse Frankson, 26, of Protea Valley, who plays the role of Graham’s father, Mr Delrio, believes the musical can help young people who are struggling to identify themselves do just that.
“Perhaps this play will provide some answers to youth who need it. This play will open up the discussion, and families can take it from there,” he says. “Perhaps this will give the LGBTQ+ community the affirmation that they can be who they want to be and love who they want to love.”
Amy Du-Plooy, 23, from Bridgetown, who plays the role of a matric pupil at Glitz High School, says parents should reassure their children that they can speak to them about anything.
“Parents must learn to address issues that aren’t being addressed in their homes with their kids which ought to be a safe space.”
It’s up to older generations to dispel the notion that some issues are taboo to talk about, she says.
“These things must be spoken about, and the younger generations are always on their phones and on the internet so they will get to know about these topics whether their families discuss it with them or not.”
Performances of Human will start at various schools on Monday September 20 and will run until Saturday October 30. For bookings, call Matthew Poole at 065 917 1692.