If you think you know the whole story of the Pink Shirt Movement, and the two young men at the centre of the anti-bullying campaign, think again.
“I am really excited to surprise people with this,” said Andria Wilson. She and Michael McPhee have written an original play based on the real-life actions of two teens living in rural Nova Scotia.
In Pink — which premiers at Eastern Front’s SuperNova Theatre Festival, tells the story of Travis Price and David “DJ” Shepherd, who started a pink-shirt-wearing anti-bullying movement that spread across the province and worldwide.
“It is not a documentary play,” said Wilson. “It is their words; so much of the text is their words. What they said to us and to the press. But, all the rest of it, to make it into a piece of theatre, we had to invent a certain amount.
McPhee and Wilson were approached by Scott Burke, artistic director of Eastern Front Theatre, last October to create a play based on the story.
“I think Scott had this sense that this was not just going to be a flash in the pan story,” said Wilson.
McPhee said they began by reading articles about the Pink Shirt Movement, the events that lead to it, and interviewed the two main characters in the story.
“DJ, especially for me, was not the type of person I thought he was going to be, he was a different character,” said McPhee.
“It was different from what was out there in the press,” added Wilson. “We made assumptions as everyone did, to who they were and why they made the dessions they did. So to meet with them and actually talk to them was interesting.”
Wilson said they wanted to ask Price and Shepherd the questions no one had asked them before and find out who these two young men really are.
“They are not the student government, straight-A students, kids that you would expect to put something like this together,” McPhee said. “They are just normal kids, and it drives home the fact anyone can do this, anyone can stand up.”