Outcast Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Joshua Robinson’s play Valentine at the 133rd Street Arts Center, located at 308 West 133rd Street in New York City. The play is inspired by the real life murder of fifteen year-old Lawrence King, a Transgender student, at a middle school in Oxnard, CA in 2008. His murderer, Brandon McInerney, eventually pleaded out after his first hearings ended in mistrial. Allegations were confirmed that Lawrence had publicly expressed romantic interests in McInerney, culminating in an invitation for Brandon to be his Valentine. Brandon returned the next day and shot King twice in the head at point blank range. While the case never managed to break into a major nationwide media story, the implications of the murder, the involvement of both families, and the role of school administrators and educators in the case are issues that are pertinent to the current cultural conversation regarding the LGBTQ movement and public education. It is the hope of Outcast Theatre Company that this production of Valentine will enter into that dialogue.
Valentine concerns the story of two teenage boys trying to find their identities in a confusing world. Dylan, questioning both his gender and sexual orientation, uses his self-proclaimed status as a “freak” to keep his bullies at bay. Jonathan, dealing with a broken, violent home, struggles to stay under the radar and protected from further pain and embarrassment. Although practically strangers, a chance meeting one day at the school bus stop creates a connection between the two boys. When Dylan perceives the encounter as a romantic overture, the growing odds against both children lead to disastrous and violent results. Valentine explores the nature of human connection, the role of bullying in public schools, and the responsibility of adults and institutions in navigating the new terrain of sexual and gender politics that has emerged in the public education system.
The production is directed by Alex Perez (Julian and Romero) and features Technical Direction by Timothy Hart (Thank You For Being a Friend.) The cast features Tayler Beth Anderson, Shawn Nikolas Bryant, Francisco Huergo, Zack Kozlow, Sonya Robinson, MaryLynn Suchan, and Nicholas Wheelehon, Costumes are designed by Alexander Mosko with Sound Design and Stage Management by Monica Daniels.
VALENTINE will take place MARCH 6-9th, 2014. Tickets are priced at $20 and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at http://outcastvalentine.bpt.me. For additional information, or to ask about discounted group rates, please contact Producer Michelle Maccarone at firstname.lastname@example.org.