Into the Circle..from bullying to belonging
by B. Glenn Copeland © 2009
Illustrations by Kitty Macaulay © 2009 all rights reserved
recommend this production highly enough!"
Special Programmes Consultant
Trillium Lakelands District School Board
Bracebridge Education Centre
"Your performance at Jack Callaghan was absolutely astounding.
The message you conveyed was clear, strong and relative to the daily life of a student in school."
Laura MacPherson, teacher
Jack Callaghan Public School
"...Glenn's creation would be a successful and powerful animated film for all grades."
Past President Huntsville Festival of the Arts
Executive Board Creative Muskoka
"Many students expressed how much they related to the characters and the situations; they were willing to share personal experiences after viewing the production."
Jo An Jordan, Arts Teacher
Riverside Public School
Trillium Lakelands District School Board
"Glenn had the capacity as a consummate storyteller to keep me spellbound.
As the play unfolded I became Rishi as he struggled to fit into a new community.
The music rivaled Broadway tunes I know by heart - melodies and lyrics that are memorable and toe tapping.
The music and the message must be heard by a wider audience so that everyone of every age can have the opportunity of appreciating this shining, creative masterpiece."
“Every child and youth living in Canada deserves to grow up in supportive and nurturing environments, and develop the social and emotional skills they need to work with others cooperatively, resolve conflict and cope with challenges they face in life."
Canadian Mental Health Assoc
Why I Wrote this Musical
On almost any day, one can read a story about a bullying incident with a tragic outcome, or an article about the effects of bullying on our children, and therefore on our society. We can see this behaviour at the individual and group level all the way up to sovereign nations. Why do we bully? Many argue social conditioning, home life , environment. All these I'm sure are true. But I believe that at a fundamental level of our very existence - within our brains - we are programmed to act out this difficult script. Our old, reptilian brain is extremely powerful. It is constantly accessing the odds of our very survival. When we are threatened, it kicks into gear. In our modern world where the strong community ties of support for its members have broken down, where the larger community is no longer small enough to give its members a sense of belonging and of safety, and where its common purpose to mitigate behaviours is almost non existent, we are cut off and left on our own in a deeply felt, rarely expressed and frightening way. All of us, young and old alike.
You'd better get to the top of the heap or you are lost! This message piped in on every channel is the dominant message of our society. And it seamlessly integrates with our reptilian brain message - eat or be eaten, dominate or be dominated. And so, for many with additional conditioning of one kind or another, bullying behaviour emerges.
I believe our children are acting out this reality in their everyday experience within their schools and peer social groups...social groups without the guidance of compassionate elders who 'know' and have cared about them from babyhood up.
As an artist, as a fellow human with all of the same conditioning and messages, how can I address this isolation affecting us all? How can I highlight awareness, help to create change in some way?
I write music. That is what I do.
And so, I wrote this musical from my deeply held view that we can re-establish the community, the circle of which we are all a member. We can remember all of what we are, and find a way to bring us all into the circle. It starts, I suppose, with the other organ that is equally, if not more powerful than our old reptilian brain, our hearts.
And so here is my offering.
**I am very grateful that a one person storytelling version, with music and visuals, was able to reach over 6000 children. My wife and I look forward to mounting a full theatrical version of it adapted for older youth and young adults in the near future.