James Koroni, danced and portrayed the role of Teenage Rich in the Off-Off Broadway production of Lemon Meringue. Here he shares his feelings surrounding the plays social issue of childhood sexual abuse. This incredibly important performance about Rich Ryan from Long Island depicts one mans struggles to overcome the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse. How do you feel Lemon Meringue will help others who are suffering from childhood sexual abuse?
Lemon Meringue offers victims a glimpse into the story of recovery. The predators only evil power is secrecy, which leaves a feeling of shame in their victims. Lemon Meringue breaks the silence. It makes childhood sexual abuse a topic that isn’t so taboo and helps our community explore ways to make victims comfortable with sharing their secret. Then when they need us, we will be ready to nurture them through recovery.
What part of the rehearsal process did you derive inspiration from to tackle this sensitive topic?
Teenage Rich, was a bridge between the adult and the inner child. One rehearsal with the Director, Terri Muuss, was exceptionally powerful because I was able to reintroduce them on stage. Both Adult and Young Rich felt closer to Teenage Rich than one another. I was there as a confidant and emotional support in that scene when they finally met one another. Metaphorically, I want to be available to play this role for friends or family that may have gone through this in their own lives but this time help them bridge the gap between the victim and the survivor.
What did you learn from your experiences that you would like to share with others?
I learned that sexual predators may not be the stranger in the park but is more often the person who takes your child to the park. This doesn’t mean you need to fear every caretaker in their life. There are ways to protect your children from predators. Teach them to trust their instincts, help them understand what is a good secret and what is a bad secret and don’t feel bad about what inquiries you may have. You know your child more than anyone else.
I’d like to thank Terri Muuss, Rich Ryan, Athena Reich, Rhett Hackett and Keith Smith for sharing their stories with me and helping me be a better tool in liberating other victims. I love you all dearly and look forward to working with you again in the future!
For info visit, www.lemonmeringue.org.