Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Theatre

Spring Musical Delivers Lessons on Bullying

Gabrielle Holme-Miller ’17 (Carrie White) with cast members in a scene from CARRIE the musical (Emily Salswedel ’16 / The Index)

This past weekend, The Festival Playhouse successfully delivered their rendition of Carrie: The Musical. The cast portrayed themselves as high school students of Chamberlain High School. The main character, Carrie, deals with finding her own identity while tolerating immense bullying from her peers. At the conclusion, the audience is able to see how the effects of bullying touched everyone at Chamberlain High.

Immanuel Greene ‘16, who played Carrie, found that “rehearsing for Carrie really forced us to go back to the dark, awkward, and teen angst days of high school.”

Greene noted that high school is a time when students figure out what could define them, and subsequently, this self-defining process can determine how their peers will view them. According to Greene, it was important to decide how they want to portray their character to the audience.

The production’s Dance Captain and supporting actress, Audrienne Murray ’15, realized that K students may feel far removed from high school drama, but the principle still remains constant. One of the main messages of Carrie is that bullying will affect the person doing the bullying, the person receiving the bullying, and any bystanders. “Whether or not we realize it, we have the power to stop bullying, but if you wait too long to intervene, you may find that it is too late to rectify the situation,” Murray said.

During the production, there was a live Twitter feed for audience members to tweet their thoughts about high school and bullying. Murray found this important because, “bullying has gotten worse in the last decade because of social media and widespread technology today.” Murray finds this relevant to K’s campus because anyone can use social media as a medium to bully. It’s not face-to-face and can be posted anonymously.

Both Greene and Murray found their experience to be rewarding. Murray encouraged K students to become involved with theatre at K because it offers a unique experience that is hard to find elsewhere on campus. “Whether you are onstage or behind the scenes, you get to be a part of creating that magic and sharing it with everyone who sees the show,” Murray said.

Audience member Quincy Crosby ’17 was surprised throughout the entirety of Carrie, but he does not want to give away the ending of Carrie’s special powers. “The show was able to capture the importance of treating everyone right all the time, not just sometimes,” Crosby said. Other spectators received the production well with a standing ovation.

If students missed performances of Carrie, its final shows are Thursday, May 21 at 7:00PM and Friday, May 22 at 8PM at the Nelda K Balch Playhouse.

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Spring Musical Delivers Lessons on Bullying