Four Year 11 students are sent to detention for causing disruption during a Special Assembly addressing a recent incident – explicit photos were leaked online. Birds and Bees, a new play by critically acclaimed writer Charlie Josephine (I, Joan and Monologues for ‘Others’), is a searing exploration of identity, consent, sex positivity, online safety and intersectionality. Step into the classroom and meet the four students who confront their differences and use their power to create change.
Aaron (Black, male, working class)
Aaron navigates how to be a man and becomes overwhelmed with toxic masculinity. He often struggles to express his true feelings. To compensate for that, he often makes inappropriate jokes and makes fun of the situation at ill-fitting times. Boyfriend of Leilah, who constantly complains about his inability to listen and communicate, Aaron is also Jack’s best friend.
Leilah (Black, female, working class)
Best friend of Cherrelle, whose private explicit photos are shared online without consent, Leilah is big-hearted but desperate to be with her best mate to calm her down. Longing for authenticity but comfortable with her own skin, she hopes no one will judge her based on her looks. To avoid disappointment and to feel safe, Leilah acts hyper-femme with her friends and boyfriend.
Billy (Any race, AFAB nonbinary, working class)
An outsider who’s secretly eager to be included in the conversation, Billy helps the others understand societal binary restrictions on sex education and storytelling by bringing a queer perspective. Despite presenting a confident image to the rest of the group, they silently struggle to relate to their peers and yearn for a community in which to freely vent their worries without prejudice.
Maisy (White, female, middle class)
The model student who never gets in trouble, Maisy still ends up in detention with the rest of the group. She is determined to fix the situation and prepares an apology script for the whole group. In return, they call her uptight and claim she never has any fun. Maisy is not particularly into sex, perhaps due to the lack of useful information taught at school. As a result, she is ignorant and fearful.
In the end, all four students strive for better and updated sex education – written by relevant and experienced people, not politicians or stakeholders who edit reality, ignore technology and believe in old-fashioned, religious patriarchy. Unified in their purpose, these four very different people come together to urgently begin fixing an outdated and unfair system.
To purchase the script of Birds and Bees , visit the Concord Theatricals website in the UK.