We look, but don’t see; hear but don’t listen, and in the process, we do a great disservice to the people who may need our help the most.
That’s the message a Langley high school student will try to convey as she presents her original play, Invisible Out Loud.
Written and directed by Desiree Wallace, the drama examines the way homeless people are treated by society.
“My play is focused on misconceptions about homelessness,” said the 18-year-old LSS student who volunteers at Joe’s soup kitchen in St. Joseph’s Catholic church.
Drawing on a combination of her own experiences and research, Wallace crafted a story about a homeless man named Buddy who has settled outside the doors of a hotel.
As guests come and go, they barely spare a glance for the downtrodden man, even though he tries to be friendly and make conversation with them.
“Homeless people tend to be invisible to people. We don’t really treat them like they’re human,” said the young playwright.
“I have two passions — art and drama, and the issue of homelessness. I’ve integrated the two,” she said.
“I love to write, but this is the first play I’ve written.”
Aside from suffering the occasional bout of writer’s block, she said, the process went fairly smoothly.
“I was really inspired by my subject,” she said. “It came from the heart.”
The play intersperses moments of levity within the drama, she said.
Wallace cast the play’s 10 characters from the Grade 11 and 12 students she’s worked alongside in the school’s drama program.
“I wanted to do it last year, but I had no time,” said Wallace, who graduates this spring.
She has been involved in drama and musical theatre for several years, however, once she’s done high school, she won’t be pursuing a career on the stage.
Instead, she plans to study global stewardship at Capilano College.
The young woman is already putting her convictions into action.
Used clothes and blankets, new socks will be collected at the door will be given to Fraser Holland, Langley’s community outreach worker to distribute.
Invisible Out Loud will be performed at Langley Secondary School’s dramnasium on Thursday, May 26.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Before Wallace’s play, which runs approximately 45 minutes, the audience will get the opportunity to watch a number of short student films.
LSS is located at 21405 56 Ave.
Admission to the play is by donation to Langley’s Community Outreach program, with a suggested minimum donation of $5.