7 Stages addresses Bullying Behavior with Aggressive Art


While bullying behavior is a harsh and pervasive reality in the culture of our schools, 7 Stages is responding with art by creating a safe space for conversation, expression, and activism.

fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life by Sarah Gubbins is about a lesbian teenager’s daily struggle to avoid being noticed, to survive the torment of bullying behavior, and to embrace one teacher’s determination to provide hope in a seemingly-hopeless situation. It takes the bravery of this teacher, the support of friends and family, and a sketchbook to overcome the brutality of gay bashing.

Inspired by Georgia native Carson McCullers’ The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, fml is a play about surviving our high school years, embracing our identity, and transforming society through art. Director Heidi S. Howard is reminded on a daily basis that “fear and judgment of others creates abusive action, and by responding with collaboration, connection, and creativity we are able to write a better tomorrow.”

The play is being produced as part of the national program, The Big Read. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure and enrichment. Since September, 7 Stages’ teaching artists have been visiting local schools, libraries, service organizations, and public festivals bringing free copies of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter to Atlanta’s community. In schools, students have read the book, discussed its themes, and created artistic responses to McCullers work.

“The students’ responses to the book are so thoughtful. It is a gift to create with and learn from students.” said teaching artist Dorothy Bell. Artists, patrons, students and our community members are engaging in creative responses that will be showcased throughout the run of the performance in the theatre’s lobby, presented on stage, and even incorporated in the production. Playwright Sarah Gubbins was first commissioned to create her own artistic response to McCullers’ debut novel by Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.

The result was fml. 7 Stages has also been working with Theatre du Reve (Theater of the Dream) and their production of Jane, The Fox and Me, an adaptation of a graphic novel about bullying behavior. The lead characters in both shows draw strength from classic literature; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Jane Eyre respectively.  The two shows will run in repertory in 7 Stages’ black box theater throughout February 2015.  If you are interested in contributing an artistic response, please join us in the art of activism.

fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life
by Sarah Gubbins
Directed by Heidi S. Howard
February 5-22, 2014

Thursday – Saturday 8 PM / Sunday 5 PM / February 21, 2014 2 PM Post Show Talks Thursday, February 12th & 19th

Preview tickets February 5 & 6: $18 in advance/$20 at the door
 / Tickets $22.50 in advance/$25 at the door

Friday, February 6 8pm: Performance & Key Note by Sarah Gubbins playwright of fml

And the announcement of The Big Read artistic response contest winners

Saturday, February 14 4PM: Celebrate The Big Read artistic responses to Carson McCullers’ Heart is a Lonely Hunter ~ FREE ~ donations appreciated

Sunday, February 15 4PM The Art of Activism

~2PM performance of Jane, the Fox and Me
 ~2:30PM Writing off Bullying Behavior: a panel discussion on bullying behavior ~
3:30PM Create Artistic Response ~5PM performance of fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life

7 Stages Theatre has been bringing local and international emerging artwork of social, political, and spiritual importance to Atlanta audiences since 1979. Artists in performance, music, visual and the spoken arts have found the organization a haven in the support and development of new works and methods of collaboration.