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Bullying, immigration experience at heart of TOY's 'New Kid'

"New Kid," opening at the Theatre of Youth, wants to show us the immigration experience from the inside out. And so the play throws us a twist.

Only Nick, the "new kid" -- who comes from an undisclosed country just called "Homeland" -- speaks in intelligible English. The people who surround him in his new land all speak what sounds like gibberish. The play is especially timely with October being National Bullying Prevention & Awareness Month.

On his website, Foon explains how a colleague had the idea of writing the play that way, he went with it, and since then, it has evolved. "I kept directing it, and refining it, until it became a wonderful piece of physical and verbal comedy that has lot to say about being the new kid," he writes.

Audiences around the world seem to agree. The linguistic trick helps you get into the head of the "new kid," as he tries to understand his surroundings and make friends. It's not easy for him, as his unintelligible classmates mock his clothes, food, and foreign ways. We can hope, as Nick does, that things get better. Meanwhile, the play personalizes the experience of being an outsider. Kids and adults alike will find themselves remembering times in their lives when they, too, had to try to fit in somewhere new.

"New Kid," for ages 8 and older, has a variety of school-time performances that have expanded beyond Buffalo into Lancaster, Lockport and Springville. Public performances are at 2 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 at the Theatre of Youth (203 Allen St.), 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29 at Lancaster Opera House and 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Lockport Palace Theatre.

Tickets for the Theatre of Youth performances are $15-$28. Visit or call 884-4000, Ext. 304 for information on all the performances.





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