June 13, 2012
I took my Year 10 Drama students to the theatre today and saw a play that was simply fantastic – captivating…
…and terrifying to watch, all at once!
It’s called Truck Stop.
The play was written based on true events – about a few 14 yr old girls who would sneak out of school at lunch time, hang out at a truck stop and prostitute themselves. The bulk of the play, however, looks at how these young girls reach a point like that in their lives – looking at their social circumstances, coupled with current, cultural pressures. So it’s practically at the end of the play, where we finally see them arrive at that unavoidable end result.
It was hypnotic – like watching a car crash about to happen…except you can’t turn away.
Why am I writing about this? Because how the girls talked, what they did, how they felt, the songs they listened to, all of it – was holding a mirror to what a lot of girls today are living. Breathing.
I found myself actually fighting back strong emotions as I watched, wondering how girls today navigate through such a barrage of feelings, sometimes rendering them impotent to fight against doing ‘whatever it takes’ to attain the one thing they truly want;
To have someone.
That’s the crust of it and has been since the birth of time. We all want someone.
But girls today are bombarded with such powerful emotions – urging them to stand out or be left behind – that (some) succumb to the pressure of what ‘today’ tells them is acceptable and they find themselves making choices that do nothing for them. Time and time again, it seems like the only ‘winner’ is the guy.
This production did a superior job – not just showing the main ‘easy’ girl and her best friend, but also the new innocent Indian student, who joins those girls and is quickly ‘corrupted’ to their ways…until she’s on the outer again. Nothing surprising really, but ladened in pace and emotion. Whenever these girls discussed any activity, whether it be naughty or plain bland, they likened it to a movie or video clip. So incredible how much they seemed to live their lives through fantasy – after all, it’s all that’s splashed in front of them…
Question #57: How can we help our girls get through these pressures; that we simply didn’t have growing up?
Now before you all start jumping up and down saying that we did, what I mean is that we didn’t have the reach of imagery, that this photo-shopped, Internet saturated world has today – we certainly didn’t have the ‘instructional’ music videos of the current pop culture, for example. Of course there were times when I felt like boys wouldn’t like me – but there wasn’t a look or behaviour I had to conform to…and in hindsight, I have to say that it overwhelms me with a sense of relief.
Today is a vastly different story, however, and I feel (at times) disheartened for our girls.
This play doesn’t provide any solutions, but it had a great impact on every one of my students – for many different reasons.
If you’re in Sydney, it’s on at The Seymour Centre until June 23. They may tour, so keep an eye out. It’s worth the watch.
Promotional image from Truck Stop.