For middle schools that want to open up discussion of cyberbullying, rumor-spreading and personal integrity in today’s online world, “The True Shoes Monologues” — an original stage presentation that introduces the characters in my new novel True Shoes — is an engaging resource that’s now posted here, on YouTube.
Like The Revealers, the YA novel to which it’s a sequel, True Shoes deals with the choices both positive and negative that young people are making in this networked age. Wanting to introduce Shoes to the students at Pierce Middle School in Grosse Pointe, principal Gary Buslepp and drama teacher/director Michelle Hooks-Stackpoole contacted me to propose a new theater piece, in which key characters from the novel would speak directly to the audience.
I liked the idea a lot — so Michele and I collaborated to produce the “Monologues” script. The drama teacher cast 14 of her school’s most talented young actors as the True Shoes characters. They were among the first to read the book; and when they performed the Monologues on March 20, I was in the school auditorium along with the whole student body and the Pierce teachers.
It was a tremendous show — really powerful and moving. Michelle arranged for a two-camera videotaping of the performance, which she and the students later edited into the 16-minute video that I've posted on YouTube.
If you want to get a conversation started on how the choices young people are making online intersect with their personal lives, “The True Shoes Monologues” is a resource worth checking out. If you’re planning to work with True Shoes — or if you’re working with The Revealers and want to give students a sense of the new sequel — this production plunges viewers into the story in ways that engage without revealing too much or dampening the reading experience.