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Shedding light on violence

Glenbard North’s ‘Bang, Bang You’re Dead’ tackles difficult subjects for schools

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:33 p.m. CDT
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(Photo provided)
Glenbard North High School theater students are tackling a range of difficult subjects with the presentation of the play "Bang, Bang You're Dead" this weekend.

CAROL STREAM – Even the younger generation is on edge with stories of violence saturating the news – especially gun violence and bullying.

Equally unfortunate is that many young people know of someone who is a victim or even sadder, they are a victim. It weighs heavy on their minds, said Glenbard North High School Fine Arts’ department chairman, Nathan King.

“[Students] want to know why bad things are happening all the time,” King said.

King believes his theater students now are convinced they can make a difference in what goes on around them, after their participation in a new play at the school that opens tonight.  

Shortly after the Sandy Hook, Conn., shooting, students were talking about how it seemed the world was crumbling down around them, and how they felt helpless to do anything about it, King said. They talked about how, as theater artists, they have the unique ability to share their voices with audiences through art. It was then they decided that an appropriate class project would be to produce the classic play, “Bang, Bang You’re Dead” by William Mastrosimone.

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in the school gym, 990 N. Kuhn Road, Carol Stream.

The one-act play was written in 1999 by Mastrosimone to shed light on school violence and bullying after three school shootings. The play follows Josh, a high school student who murders his parents and five of his classmates. It was written to be performed for kids, by kids.

“This play humanizes the effects of such tragedies on the victims and their families,” King said.

When asked what he and the theater students hoped to accomplish by presenting the play, King said, “While we can never know if we impacted anyone positively to prevent such a tragedy, the least we can say is we tried and contributed to the solution rather than passively sitting back helplessly. We had a voice, and we used it to make a difference.”

Glenbard North student Thomas Sheridan said he hopes the play conveys a message that will prompt others to look deeper into this problem.

“If we get bullies to see from a victim’s perspective, it would help them,” Sheridan said.  

The students’ consensus is that bullying occurs in different degrees, at different places, and is a deep-seeded problem arising from the bully’s low self-esteem. 

“I think everyone has been bullied and has been a bully, and we don’t want to admit it,” performer Morgan Pfeiffer said. “It has to stop.”

The suggested admission to attend the play is $5, which will support the Fine Arts’ Scholarship Fund. 

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