by #WyattCameron playwright Jake Penner
Teenaged life is a paradoxical life. You are, in this all too brief moment, the most powerful you’ll ever be. But at the same time, the world around you gives you no actual power. No actual audience. No actual respect. No trust.
I do. In fact, I don’t know how anyone forgets. I’d be surprised to hear if I was the only one who carries a piece of that young, frustrated kid out into adult life. I think those experiences stay with us and shape us, forever.
Which is why it’s been so exciting the last few years to watch the young and frustrated find their voices online. All of a sudden, perhaps for the first time, young people with something to say have somewhere to say it; young people with a grievance to air have somewhere to air it; young people tired of being discriminated against, silenced, pacified, exploited, bankrupted, assaulted, and shot at, are able to contribute their voices to a larger conversation that was once off limits to them. And they get to do so in the very media landscape that nurtured them. Their home field. All of a sudden, perhaps for the first time, the game is fair. And the younger team may just have the advantage.
#WyattCameron was born out of this idea – what would happen if a teenager saw something they didn’t agree with and decided to speak out against it, using the technology that can make their voice as loud as the wide world.
To the adults: thank you for supporting this festival. It’s the thing Forward Theater does that I’m always most proud to be a part of – a feeling that’s amplified this time around by getting to work with talents as strong as Sherrick Robinson and Walker Stephenson.
To the young people: let me know what you think.