Can’t We Be Seventeen?

Hopkins School puts on emotional play in light of sensitive times

Opinion of Joyce Lin

Have you ever wondered what plays and musicals not at ELHS are like? Of course, there are the classic renditions of Romeo and Juliet, Our Town, High School Musical, Shrek, and Grease. As much as I love all of these shows, the best one, by far, was Heathers: The Musical (High School Edition) produced by Hopkins School. It dealt with REAL ISSUES in the world, such as depression, mass destruction, teen suicide, bullying, and murder.
For those of you who have not seen this secret 1988 cult-classic, Heathers is a black comedy that revolves around Westerburg High School’s outcast-turned-popular Veronica Sawyer. Similar to Mean Girls, there is an almighty clique of typical popular girls all names Heather. After witnessing a string of bullying and ridicule, Veronica is encouraged by her boyfriend, JD, to kill one of the Heathers, and forge the murder to look like a suicide.
There are more murders and the school, holds numerous funerals and attempts to start conversations about teen suicide, which appears to be insincere and insensitive. Heathers ends with JD plotting to bomb the school, but Veronica ultimately foils his plan.
As I sat in the audience, I could not help but think that something like this could happen in real life. One scene included a friend of mine who was playing a character attempting to overdose on pills to end her life. I applaud Hopkins School for beautifully producing this musical, despite everything going on in the news.
A Heathers reboot premiere was recently delayed because of the recent shootings. However, these students saw this as an opportunity to continue the dialogue on gun violence and mental health. Seeing high school students, my friends, reenact scenes of bullying and shootings was eye-opening.
Some performances were heartbreaking, others were comical or shocking, but the thing is, they captured problems that happen all the time in real life. Even if one issue appears to fade away, something else either resurfaces or arises. It is easy to pretend that our world does not face these issues, but the more we accept them, the more we can take action to change the tide.
I hate to say it, my generation has become desensitized to pressing topics such as gun violence and bullying. With each new story, it seems like the shock level has gone down. These problems have become some prevalent that they are part of the social norm.
However, the tide is slowly changing. With the recent Parkland shooting, teenagers across the nation are speaking up and taking action. The conversations that our nation are sparking will not die down.
We are changing the norm.

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