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Performer tackles tough issues

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New York - Students, faculty and staff from Devereux New York joined their peers from Red Hook High School at a one-person show entitled, You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me. The performance takes on such issues as rape, discrimination, homophobia, gender equity and suicide and uses characters from across the demographic spectrum including those with developmental disabilities.

Michael FowlinMichael FowlinDuring the 75-minute production, Dr. Michael (Mykee) Fowlin, an actor and psychologist, slips in and out of character effortlessly. From the very start, Fowlin opens in “character,” giving those in attendance the idea that he has a thick Jamaican/Caribbean accent only to disabuse them of this notion a few minutes later. Throughout the performance, Fowlin makes reference to the “mask” that each individual wears, whether it is to hide hurt, stress, fear, or anger or to hide their true nature or, in many cases, both. With his presentation and characters, Fowlin becomes the embodiment of the ideas he tries to drive home: individuals can wear many masks, but they should not be judged by those masks alone.

Fowlin, who has been professionally acting since age 11, has brought his original performance to millions of people across the United States and in Europe. His presentations bring heightened awareness to the issues of race, discrimination, gender equality and personal identity to students and faculty.

The assembly was coordinated by Devereux staff members, Chris Fortune, director of residential services, and Kim Morrissey, school principal, along with Perri Keefe of Red Hook High School and mother of an adult in Devereux’s care.
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