Last Wednesday, Killington Mountain School's 10th and 11th grade English classes went to see Tarell Alvin McCraney’s "Choir Boy" at the Briggs’ Opera House in White River Junction.
Directed by Jarvis Antonio Green, the play is centered around Pharus, the lead choirboy at a prestigious African American boys’ boarding school. Pharus has conflicting emotions when it comes to his sexual orientation, but it is the other students and faculty at Charles R. Drew Prep. who struggle to embrace Pharus’ identity.
"Choir Boy" is a story of the ever-growing conflict between tradition and societal changes. The show examines the difficulties associated with "toxic masculinity", conformity, and tradition. The term "toxic masculinity" refers to unrealistic expectations of what a man is supposed to be, perpetuated by negative “machismo” stereotypes. These expectations can be harmful to everyone, particularly women and men who do not easily fit into this mold. Pharus does not fully conform and is bullied because of this. On the other hand, David, the boy with whom Pharus is involved, conforms completely and hides his sexuality. Although David is not bullied, it’s clear that he suffers internally.
This play shines a light on the hypocrisy of using tradition as an excuse for covert homophobia. Tradition can be wonderful and is an integral part of our lives, but at times it can slow down necessary social progress. The Headmaster of the school is often more concerned with upholding tradition than he is with ensuring his students are content and safe, but as the play progresses, he learns he needs to strike a balance between the two.
Many of the themes in "Choir Boys" are evident in our daily lives, particularly the notions of conformity and the concept of toxic masculinity. Although every student at KMS is unique and has great personality traits, there is not much diversity in our school nor our state. This can make it difficult when someone different enters our somewhat secluded world. Overall, this play provided thought-provoking commentary that can be used to enhance the way we function as a community.
Choir Boy continues its run until November 20. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets: https://www.universe.com/events/choir-boy-tickets-TV26C5 \
Don't miss the opportunity to see this wonderful show! A special thanks to Jarvis Antonio Green and JAG productions for the opportunity to attend the performance!