If the opportunity ever arises here in Hawaii (and I’ll make sure to tell you all about it if it does!) make sure you see the original play, “To Kill A Kelpie” that was recently featured at the San Diego IVAT conference having just wrapped up from a very successful stint off-Broadway. http://offbroadway.broadwayworld.com/article/Stop-the-Silence-Presents-TO-KILL-A-KELPIE-46-15-20120324
The first question you might have is “What the heck’s a kelpie?” From http://www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com/page/Kelpie a kelpie is defined as “A shape-shifting horse like water spirit said to haunt the rivers and streams of Scotland.”
And what does a mythological creature have to do with abuse? Within the context of the play, absolutely everything.
Every culture has its legends and its lore, usually passed from elders to wide-eyed youths, to instill a sense of history, reflection, morality, inspiration, fantasy and fear – the latter of which is the kelpie’s function in the story of two Scottish brothers, Dougal and Fin, who come together after years of separation and begin talking about their past.
As the audience listens in to the two brother’s conversation, it’s learned that both brothers were sexually abused repeatedly in their childhoods by an uncle who had been entrusted to look after them. As you might imagine, the conversation becomes an emotional rollercoaster as the brothers reminisce, compare, contrast and catch up on the events that have transpired in each other’s lives. At times intense, but not without comic relief, the audience comes to understand how the kelpie was used by the uncle to keep the boys silent about their sexual abuse and how a childhood monster became something very real in both men’s lives with some very real consequences.
To say that the play and story line are thought-provoking is an understatement; this is one of those plays that the audience will be easily able to talk about for an hour after it’s over and again at breakfast the next day.
Following the San Diego performance, writer/director Matthew McVarish and actor, Allan Lindsay-Dubghall, sat down for a question and answer session and spoke about the reactions they’ve received from performing the play. Incredibly, Matthew shared that people have approached him afterwards to disclose their own child sex abuse histories and some for the very first time! Considering how very difficult it is to get abuse victim-survivors to disclose, that some are doing so after seeing this play is a testament to the real power behind it. And speaking about the “power behind it”…
The play’s creator (Matthew) became inspired to write “Kelpie” after becoming familiar with Stop The Silence, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of and healing from child sexual abuse, as well as raising awareness about this problem that affects one out of every three girls and one out of every six boys before they turn 18 years of age.
Founded by Dr. Pamela Pine, who holds a PhD in Public Health Communication, Stop The Silence is the primary sponsor and supporter of the play. For more information about “To Kill A Kelpie” or about Stop The Silence, click here: http://www.stopcsa.org/index.html
Though the play may be hard to access for us in Hawaii, the good news is that it’s been picked up and turned into a movie that (if I recall correctly) will be released sooner rather then later so stay tuned for the announcement of when “To Kill A Kelpie” comes to a theater near you!