Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC) / by Jeff Jones


Forum with Scenes from "The Youth Know The Truth"

about ageism, islamophobia and The School-to-Prison Pipeline

 A boring incompetent teacher (Miss Frantic) fails to de-escalate an argument between two students (Rashidah & Bobbi) in class. Ernest, the security guard pulls them out of class and sends them to the Principal Saltina who focuses on punishment (read: suspension) instead of conflict mediation. They are accused of physically fighting which is untrue. When Rashidah goes home, her mother, Ms. Buoy is much like the adults at the school: unwilling to listen. Eventually her mom agrees that while Rashidah needs to control her temper, if she wasn't actually fighting there is no need for such a long suspension. Ms. Buoy tries to advocate for her daughter to Principal Saltina but ends up getting just as frustrated at her unwillingness to hear her out. One week later when the students return from their suspension, the security protocols have increased. The safety personnel harasses the girls, blaming them for the new dehumanizing protocols including demanding that Rashida remove her hijab. Bobbi reluctantly goes to class but Rashidah storms off.

Featured Actors Jon, Maria Teresa, Letitia, Amorarey, Charlie, Karencia, Gariyana


About the Troupe

TONYC’s Rapid Response Troupe, made up of veteran actors from TONYC Forum Theatre Troupes provides short-notice, flexible, targeted, and creative support to grassroots organizers and campaigns. This experimental troupe draws on communities’ and activists’ collective knowledge to attract new audiences to urgent grassroots campaigns and engage those audiences in transformative conversation--while devising new strategies, through improvisation, with which to hold the powerful accountable and demand substantive change. The Rapid Response Troupe is facilitated by Liz Morgan. Liz works with TONYC as a Joker and as Community Resource Coordinator. She is an actor and playwright, best known for her poem "Why I was Late Today and Will Probably Always be Late as a Black Woman" featured in The Huffington Post. She holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. from Brown University where she was a graduate teaching fellow in the Theatre Arts department as well as the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. Liz has worked as a teaching artist with Opening Act, The Other Side and People's Theatre Project.


About Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC):

TONYC’s mission is to partner with communities fighting against oppression to inspire transformative action through theatre. Our goals are to build community, solidarity, and awareness; to enable actors to become activists; and to influence policy-making through participatory theatre. Our work is guided by several core principles: that any discussion of a social problem should center the voices of those directly affected; that unscripted, live encounters have immense potential for transformative change; and that community-based art and activism can influence structural change.