Australian transplant David Koutsouridis is no stranger to feeling like an outcast. As an overweight teen in Melbourne, he struggled to fit in at school, ending many nights in tears. Through determination and courage he lost the weight and wrote a book about it: “Life is Too Short to Be Fat,” which became a bestseller.

Now 22 and about to graduate from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in screenwriting, Koutsouridis has decided to take his writing talents to the stage with his collection of one-act plays called “The Out Crowd: Tales of High School.”

“It’s about people on the fringes, the outcasts. I think not fitting in resonates with all youths. Feeling like you want to belong somewhere is just something that all teenagers want to feel. Each play explores an outcast at the school,” he says.

aussieProceeds benefit My Friend’s Place, an organization that provides material and case management assistance to homeless youth.

“They do incredible work with homeless youths, helping them create sustainable lives. They do workshops with the kids, help them build resumes, find work and accommodations,” Koutsouridis says.

Why homeless youth?

“I came here and had no idea that the homeless situation was this bad in L.A. I thought it was bad back home, but here it’s on a whole different level.”

Koutsouridis is providing free tickets to some of the youth he works with as a My Friend’s Place volunteer, hoping they will relate to the show’s theme.

— Shanee Edwards

“The Out Crowd: Tales of High School” begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. $10. Visit tinyurl.com/outcrowdplay for tickets and information.

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