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CLIMB Theatre production inspires bystanders to intervene in a bullying situation

As Kachoya, left (Cayla Wolpers), continues to bully her, Katie (Andrea Ivy) tries to hold her ground with little success. This is a scene from the CLIMB Theatre production of “Bugsy.” (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)1 / 2
Katie (Andrea Ivy) continues to ask Bugsy (Cayla Wolpers) what to do when she is bullied. She must stand up to it. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)2 / 2

Watching it happen and doing nothing is just another means of encouraging the action of bullying. That’s the message loud and clear in the CLIMB Theatre presentation of “Bugs,” one of two plays presented last Wednesday to Pinecrest Elementary School students. A second play about bullying, “The Bystander,” was also presented to older students.

Hastings High School graduate and resident Cayla Wolpers is part of CLIMB Theatre’s acting company and is the media liaison for the theatre. She was present at the productions in Hastings.

“Bullying is such a hot topic right now,” said Wolpers. “We listen to teachers and what is needed in their classes now.”

Play directors Peg Wetli and Buffy Sedlachek wrote the plays, each about 40 minutes in length.

“Actually we have presented these two plays for the past few years all over including Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota,” said Wolpers. She has been with the company since August 2012.

In addition to the plays about bullying, CLIMB offers presentations about social skills, drug use prevention and racial discrimination. The actors also offer teaching presentations for students.

In “Bugs,” Bertrand ‘Bugsy’ Bungles (Gabriel Garcia) knows a lot. He knows a lot about insects and he know a lot about bullying. In fact, Bugsy knows so much that he able to teach his new friend Katie (Andrea Ivy) how to stand up to Kachoya (Wolpers), a girl who bullies. But what Bugsy doesn’t know is that by watching bullying and doing nothing, he is actually helping Kachoya to be mean. Assisted by the dragonfly children in the audience, Bugsy learns that he, too, needs to stand up to Kachoya.

CLIMB Theatre is in its 39th year as a Minnesota nonprofit. Each year CLIMB brings plays and classes to more than 400 schools, reaching about 200,000 students annually. Its mission is to create and perform plays, classes and other works that inspire and propel people, especially young people, toward actions that benefit themselves, each other, and their communities.