High school may not last forever, but the memories can stay with us for a lifetime. Working up the nerve to talk to our crushes. Fights with our parents. Thinking, “Nobody understands me except for Wheatus.”
Vancouver actor Sara Bynoe wants you to know that you’re not alone and that you don’t have to suffer in silence. In fact, why not celebrate your youth with laughter?
“Teen Angst is that awkward feeling that happens in adolescence where one feels like no one understands their pain,” Bynoe said in an interview with Daily Hive. “I have often said if you didn’t have Teen Angst, you’re going to have one hell of a midlife crisis. And as I approach midlife myself, this saying holds up.”
Bynoe is the creator of Teen Angst, a comedic reading series where brave performers share the most embarrassing parts of their teenage notebooks for the audience’s entertainment.
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Bynoe was inspired to create Teen Angst Night during a fateful phone call with a friend in early 2000.
“It was one of those marathon elder millennial conversations that went on for hours and hours,” shared Bynoe. “I was in my bedroom and stumbled on a binder of poetry my high school boyfriend had written to me. I read some of that poetry aloud to my friend and we laughed at it. It was mean and it felt bad, so I got out my poetry from my early teen years and realized it was just as bad.
“My friend and I laughed and laughed at it. She shared her bad teenage poetry and the idea for TeenAngstPoetry.com was born. It was to be a repository for the world’s worst and most earnest teen poetry.”
Though the website no longer exists, the live storytelling show lives on. Teen Angst is celebrating a belated 20th-anniversary show at Fox Cabaret on Thursday, February 2.
The lineup of performers includes comedians, actors, filmmakers, and people who may have never been on stage before. They include Em Cooper, Maria J Cruz, Meghan Heffern, Ana Pacheco, Julia Neindorf, Molly Mastel, Dave Matte, and Rebecca Renton.
“Anyone can participate in Teen Angst, and readers can share anything so long as it follows these three rules,” explained Bynoe. “The work must be your own, you must have written it between the ages of 10 to 19, and you cannot be proud of the work you share. It’s best if you’re super embarrassed.”
Material shared during previous Teen Angst Nights includes high school poetry, LiveJournal posts, songs, letters, journals and more.
Bynoe, who has appeared in films and TV series such as The Mysterious Benedict Society, Resident Alien, and So Help Me Todd, has travelled the world sharing the joy of Teen Angst. She has performed at the Latitude Festival in the UK, at Bumbershoot in Seattle, and at High Performance Rodeo in Calgary where she grew up.
“I love creating a space where people can feel seen and feel comfortable being vulnerable,” said Bynoe. “I love making people laugh. This show will demonstrate that while you were once alone in your bedroom feeling like no one understood your pain, the reality is that many of us once felt the exact same way.
“I hope the audience laughs and gets some joy and perspective on their troubles. The big takeaway from the show is that you are not alone, you adorable little weirdo!”
When: February 2, 2023
Time: 8 pm
Where: Fox Cabaret – 2321 Main Street, Vancouver
Cost: $20, purchase online
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