by LIAM BATES, Justice High School
Everyone in the world knows that we are living in uncertain times. As our society begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we do not know much of what the future will hold.
Still, everyone in the world has their own story of what they learned about themselves and how they, as an individual, grew. To express this universal experience, a team of talented students at Wakefield High School worked together to form the poignant online play titled “Growing Up.”
Featuring a collection of monologues and skits, “Growing Up” shared the experiences of teens during the pandemic and the wealthy variety of adversities they faced after the world turned upside-down.
The audience was frequently asked tough questions about the uncertainty of the future through believable characters that were brought to life by the talented cast.
A standout scene from “Growing Up” was “The Lunch Box Club,” written by student Jessica Fields. The titular club consists of four young adults who were reunited after several years apart. One of the members organized a reunion in an attempt to rekindle the bright friendship that this group once had, before a dark rift was sown between two of the members.
The brilliant writing by Fields is performed spectacularly by Isa Paley, Ryan Peterson, Melena Meek and Katerina Larrick. Each group member crafted believable relationships with one another that perfectly encapsulated the authenticity of today’s youth. As each character became more introspective, the audience was invited to consider their own perspective in the relatable conflicts presented, creating a very thoughtful and meaningful experience.
Another highlight was “And I Think to Myself” by Melena Meek. This intense, reflective piece was beautifully brought to the virtual stage by Malachi Jimenez-Washington as The Elder and Jonathan Stewart as The Younger. Both took a very pensive approach to the eloquent script.
Meek’s writing explored the idea of talking to one’s younger self and the kinds of questions one would ask them, as well as how one should respond. As the characters continued to interrogate each other, the audience couldn’t help but ask their own questions about the ideas being presented.
Furthermore, Meek took advantage of the “virtual” environment to craft clever dialogue and scenarios that offered a fascinating approach to theater.
Wakefield High School’s “Growing Up” was a poignant original work that carried heartfelt themes and presented deep questions about a range of intense subjects. The cast, as well as student-director Melena Meek, put their best efforts into this piece, and it paid off.
The final product was a meticulously crafted experience that could provoke important conversations in anyone as we all continue to grow up.
The Sun Gazette partners with the Critics and Awards Program (CAPPIES) to present student-written reviews of local high school theater productions.
For more on the initiative, see the Web site at www.cappies.com/nca/.