By Bob Evans
The Coterie adds insight into local teen pressures
A new production at The Coterie Theatre, “Brainstorm” confronts the tumultuous teenage brain and the mixed struggles teens face as they transition from youth to adult.
In a shared production with UMKC, the video production zooms-in on 10 students ranging in age from 13 to 18 years of age. The actors play the 10 students as well as their own parents to illustrate how teens and adults view each other. More characteristically, the actors provide a glimpse at teens and their mind patterns as they face their difficult challenges and their relationships with their parental guides.
“Brainstorm: The Inside Life of the Teenage Mind,” a virtual co-production that combines theatre, scientific research, and the true personal experiences of local teens creates a fun and thought-provoking show that glimpses into the minds of students from nine local K.C. metro schools. The show offers information on how a teenage mind works and the difficulties teens encounter as they balance home, school, sports, music, parents, and social media.
Directed by Amanda Kibler and written by Ned Glasier, Emily Lim, and Company Three, “Brainstorm” follows a format of a Zoom call amongst friends. All of the actors remain visible as the focus shifts from student to student in the focus window.
According to The Coterie, “Everything our characters discuss their lives comes directly from the personal stories of Kansas City teens. “Brainstorm: The Inside Life of the Teenage Mind,” incorporates stories from teens currently attending Accelerated School of Overland Park, Arrowhead Middle School, De Soto High School, North Kansas City High School, Paseo Academy, Pembroke Hill School, Platte County High School, Rockhurst High School, and Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.
The cast and crew are: Marisa B. Tejeda (as LK), Declan Franey (Jude), Jessica Andrews;
(Jack), Meredith Noël (Tyler), Franklin Wagner (Michael), JT Nagle (Clint), Sarah Ann Leahy (Samantha), Erdin Schultz-Bever (Nicole), Hieu Ngoc Bui (Spencer), and Shannon Mastel (Isabella). The artistic and production company also includes Bailey Kirk (stage manager), Gabby Roney (visual & props designer/animation), Selena Gonzalez-Lopez (director of photography & lighting/editing), Thomas Newby (sound designer/composer), Scott Hobart (technical coordination), Joel Kipper (UMKC production management), Sadie DeSantis (UMKC production management), and Tian Hao (assistant stage manager).
“Brainstorm: The Inside Life of the Teenage Mind,” can be viewed any time of day. The on-demand format allows families and educators the ability to enjoy The Coterie’s production from the comfort and safety of home and on any schedule. Admission is $20.00 for families and classrooms. For families, the on-demand format displays The Coterie’s focus on young audiences. This particular show is appropriate for grades 5-12. While the show is about teens and their struggles, the show gives parents some idea of a teenager’s life and the stresses of pre-adult years.
The production is very well done, and the teenage voices sound sincere and truthful. “Brainstorm” gives voice to the stresses that today’s youth face. It’s obvious, today is not like what parents and grandparents did or felt at the same age. Technology has given great freedom and exposure to youth at a younger age. “Brainstorm” puts the focus on today’s youth and their world. Insight fosters understanding. The Zoom format gives the show a timestamp of the 2020s
Currently, The Coterie’s production extended the run through Feb. 28, 2021, but has said that the show might extend the run if needed. Tickets purchase and more information can be found on The Coterie website: www.TheCoterie.org
Tags: The Coterie Theatre, Crown Center, Kansas City Theatre, Kansas City Performing Arts, “Brainstorm”