A Lesson In Improv: Actors Teach Students How To Deal With Harassment And Bullying

Austin middle-schoolers find their words by acting out scenes of conflict.

By Claire McInernyFebruary 12, 2018 9:30 am, , ,

From KUT:

Margaret Hunsicker and two other actors stand in front of a classroom at IDEA Rundberg in Austin, performing a scene for a group of seventh-graders. Hunsicker plays the role of a student named Jessica. Another actor slaps her butt while taking a selfie, so he can post it to social media.

After the actors finish the scene, they ask the students to make suggestions for what a bystander could do to support Jessica. They also ask how Jessica could react to make sure the boy knows what he did was unwanted. One student suggests getting a teacher, so the actors redo the scene to incorporate that.

Actor Sean Moran reminds the students to talk about consent in these situations.

“Jack is the one who’s choosing to harass Jessica; it’s not her fault one little bit,” he says. “What can she do to let Jack know that that’s not OK?”

The scene was written to mirror one that middle-school students deal with regularly. Hunsicker says the performances are aimed at teaching students what to do if they are in similar situations.

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