Lakeridge Junior High eighth-grader inspired by The Breakfast Club

Chloe RustA Lake Oswego 14-year-old girl snagged second place in a national contest for young playwrights.

Chloe Rust, an eighth-grader at Lakeridge Junior High, was the runner-up in the inaugural Dramatic Change: Anti-Bullying Initiative competition. Only one of six finalists from the Oregon-Washington region to advance to the national level, Chloe learned about the honor in an email last month, and she said sprinklings of comedy may have helped her earn the distinction.

“Bullying is not a topic to be light about, but I do think humor helps capture people’s attention about it,” she said.

In her play, “Bullies Anonymous,” a bunch of teens from a wide range of school cliques are forced into a parent volunteer-run group for ne’er do wells. One kid’s parents threaten him with a trip to juvy hall if he doesn’t join.

When she put it on paper it had a certain familiarity to it.

“I was like: ‘Oh, it reminds me of “The Breakfast Club,”’ and, once I realized it reminded me of ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I just kind of built off that,” she said.

She also had a real-life inspiration for the characters.

“They are based on people that I know in my life: I obviously changed the names,” Chloe said. “It’s my own personal form of revenge.”

When she’s not putting bullies in their place, Chloe enjoys singing, playing the piano, hitting a volleyball over the net — and, of course, theater.

At school, she stepped into Helena’s role in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and she’s also active in Oregon Children’s Theatre. Her play actually qualified for the national contest through OCT’s second annual Bully Project. Students in sixth to eighth grades from Oregon and Washington entered the contest, penning original, 10-minute plays centering on bullying. Twenty finalists at contests from regions across the country participated in Dramatic Change, which is actually based on OCT’s Bully Project — in which Chloe placed third in last year.

Local playwrights will help the Bully Project finalists to revise and craft their scripts, and this year’s first, second and third place winners will be announced May 1. All six of the finalists’ play will be featured in a staged reading that the OCT’s Young Professionals program will put on at 5 p.m. May 11 in the Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland. To order tickets for the reading, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By Jillian Daley
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