Since the 1970s, Metro Theater Company has been performing thought-provoking, and often original, works for young audiences in St. Louis and beyond.
Currently the company is touring area schools and stages performing “Unsorted” by Wesley Middleton. The forty-minute drama explores themes of identity and belonging through characters that personify pieces of clothing.
Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood and Old Bonhomme Elementary School teacher Lori Humphrey joined Cityscape host Steve Potter in studio to discuss the play.
Flood joined the Metro Theater Company in January, after the retirement of long-time Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Carol North. Humphrey is a second-grade teacher in the Ladue School District, and helped bring the play to her school.
“[I] saw a preview of it and just knew that it was something that I really was hoping we could bring to our school district,” said Humphrey. “It was just such an innovative and creative way to bring up discussion topics that might be a little difficult to talk about.”
Metro Theater Company specifically chooses plays that address issues important to young people, said Flood. And she’s found that to be particularly true with “Unsorted.”
“I have now seen it with 3 year olds and I’ve seen it with teenagers. And both groups have reacted really strongly to the play. Because of the metaphor that Wesley has used with the sorting of clothing, it speaks to everyone who sees it on their own level,” said Flood.
According to Flood, Middleton was inspired to write the play by watching a New City School Kindergarten class sort lost and found clothing. After debating whether a red shirt was for boys or girls, the class decided that everything should belong in the same category.
Because the characters of the play are items of clothing, different people take different meanings out of the play. Some see it as a conversation about race, others see it as a commentary about gender, and so on.
“There are some things that are obvious ways that we are all different. There are some things that are less obvious, said Flood. “Part of the power of this play is that it makes you think about it. It makes you think why is this group over here together and that person alone? Do they want to be alone? Are they being shut out? Part of what we’re trying to encourage young people to do is to really see what is going
While most performances are for specific audiences, two performances of “Unsorted” will be open to the public next weekend at Wydown Middle School.
Metro Theater Company Presents "Unsorted"
April 12-13, 2014
Wydown Middle School Theater, 6500 Wydown Boulevard
Metro Theater Company Website
Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted by Steve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.