The most asked questions about My Name is Tom are listed here.
Q1: Why is the play called My Name is Tom?
A: The play was partly developed through workshops with Ghetto Youth Theatre and had a working title of Cybermissive, in that people of all ages, not just young people often forget all common sense when online. So linking the cyber element with the ‘permissive’ element (doing things regardless of the consequences) and you get cybermissive. That titled was used by another production so to avoid confusion I used a line from the play, which kind of introduces itself to the audience, almost demands a response from the audience / reader.
Q2: Who is the play suitable for?
A: I think the play is for 12+ because of the nature of the issues and language used, which has to be realistic or audiences would’t accept what it was trying to say. First it is for the 12 – 25 age group because accessing the internet generates a whole series of problems for young people and even the older element are still making mistakes online which can effect the careers and or personal lives in a very public way. The play also has to be for parents, carers and a whole range of professionals because they have to care and support young people in so many different ways. Adults are featured in the play so audiences can perhaps identify with situations and do something about their own lives. Not forgetting they buy the phones, pay the contacts and need to be much more computer literate.
Q3: Where did the idea come from?
A: The original idea developed from Face Front’s highly successful SEX FM, hopefully guiding young people with the central story of Paris and Darnell who fall for each other. Because Paris and Darnell don’t make the right decisions they suffer because of it and, and very publicly. On some occasions there are strong repercussions not just for them, but also for the family. The play tells the story from the teenage perspective and then the adult perspective, so you can see how the scale of the pressure on all the characters builds and the full story evolves. Scenes are set on the street, at home, in school and at the police station. There’s music, dance, humour, hopefully something for everyone.
Q4: Can the play be performed in Schools?
A: Because of the large cast, 9 actors in all which is very expensive for schools. How we have got around that is, we will be offering schools workshops and as we are making a film of the performance and we can create, a short teaser film as an introduction to the workshop. This will introduce some of the characters and issues before we use them as way to learn about how to deal with situations safely. So schools and their students together can develop new strategies and approaches to enable young people to avoid extreme situations and suffering.
Q5: What is the play about?
A: The play raises issues about our relationships and uses of the internet and new media, how the dangers of its misuse can affect all members of the family. It’s boy meets girl, friendship, trust, the law, sexuality, peer pressure and teenage – parent relationships.
Q6: I am really concerned about issues raised in the play. Where can I find out further information?
A: Whether you are a teenager or adult you should share your concerns with your family. If that is not possible then you should approach someone you trust, this could be a friend, though they may not be an expert. Better to speak to a teacher at school or a specialist professional of a local safeguarding agency. You must remember that anything of serious concern you share, must be reported to the appropriate Safeguarding authority, to ensure you get the best possible support, guidance and protection.
If you have questions that are not answered here please email : Alan Spence on