Assemble Against Abuse

Kate Ariano ‘18
EE Features Editor

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Students from the Looking In Theater Program from Hartford, CT with their teacher Jonathan Gilman. The students answer questions that Gilman and the audience pose about their characters from the skits they performed.

You see your friend and you wave. You walk over and engage in small talk, things like the weather and school. You continue to talk for a little while. The topic changes. Now you’re talking about politics. Nope that changed. Now it’s problems in the U.S. like racism and alcohol abuse. Nope that changed. Now it’s how your friend Jenny got drunk at a party the other night. Nope that changed. Now it’s how Jenny’s nudes got leaked and the whole school has them. Uncomfortable yet? Some juniors certainly were while sitting in the auditorium last Wednesday at an assembly that covered these touchy subjects and more.

Mr. Mecca explained before the show began that, “While the performance will end, the thinking needs to continue.” While he and the guidance staff may have hoped that the skits, portraying uncomfortable or problematic circumstances that happen to teens, provoked serious thought, some students thought it was rather a “spiked version of teenage lives,” as junior Terril Pile put it.

More than a dozen different scenarios were played out in which actors took on different roles in various situations. Their characters made some decisions that the audience ultimately did not agree with, which was evident in the intense interrogations as to why characters did what they did during the questions break.

One situation that got the audience roaring was after the character Callie broke up with her abusive boyfriend, Vito. Since in a prior scene, students witnessed him being overprotective and abusive to her, Callie taking charge in her relationship and making a call for her own good was what the audience wanted to see.

Junior Sheryl John commented on the show saying, “This assembly was an eye opener for me and a lot of other people. Unlike other school assemblies, this play related to what a lot of students deal with in real life and it was written with our generation in mind, so we as an audience could really connect with the situations and the characters.”

The performance showcased issues that have happened to at least one person in the group of 50 students across Connecticut that were in the performing group, emphasizing how these scenarios could happen to anyone, anywhere. After seeing the reactions of students in the audience and how they took the opportunity to question the decisions teenagers sometimes make, it is clear that this will be an assembly students will be thinking about for a long time.

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