Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s first production in 15 months, the new drama “Princeton’s Rage,” is deeply personal for both its Quad-Cities playwright and director.

Playcrafters Director, Playwright Closely Identify With Bullying in New Play

Adrienne Jane Evans and Gary Talsky (who plays the former bully) in “Princeton’s Rage.”

In the Don Faust play (rated R for language and adult content), Princeton Yale left his hometown of Chicago over 30 years ago, turning his back on an abusive past at the hands of his high school classmates and never looking back. But through a series of happenstances, Princeton’s past comes to pay him a visit, in the form of one of his former tormentors, Reece “Rage” Johnson, and more than just talk about “the good old days” will be revealed. Will their lives ever be the same?

Though a work of fiction, Faust (a 27-year Playcrafters acting veteran), based the story on growing up bullied in Chicago.

“As a victim of bullying myself, I can attest to the fact that the lingering effects don’t end once diploma is in hand,” the 57-year-old Davenporter, who works as a claims adjustor for Sentry Insurance, wrote for the program. “Mine was worse in grade school and junior high than high school, but I digress. Like Princeton, I left my home in Norwood Park, Chicago, as soon as I could, and never looked back.

Playcrafters Director, Playwright Closely Identify With Bullying in New Play

“Princeton’s Rage” will be presented on June 4-6 and June 11-13.

“Too many bad memories, and yet, in spite of the nearly three hours distance and several decades between me and my childhood, I can never quite escape its grip on me,” Faust wrote. “Walking down the street, I see a group of kids approaching me, and my kid brains immediately goes back to wondering what they might do to me. Someone’s angry tone sends me into shutdown mode, thinking it’s yet another prelude to getting hit or shoved once again.

“Occasionally, I still see my former tormentors in my dreams (or, more accurately, nightmares),” he said. “They’re chasing me and finding me no matter where I go, no matter where I hide. Like many trauma survivors, the effect from bullying are alive and well just beneath this 57-year-old’s otherwise calm exterior.

The new play is supported by Quad City Arts, through the Arts Dollars re-granting program, supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, June 11-12, and 3 p.m. Sundays, June 13. Playcrafters tickets are $12 for the general public, and $10 for military and seniors (62+), available at playcrafters.com, or by calling 309-762-0330.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.