Last Updated: Mar 31st, 2014 - 14:20:42

A musical lesson against bullying
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Dec 2, 2013, 12:30

ASHLEY MCLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Students at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School put on “Carrie: The Musical” on Sunday.

“What does it cost to be kind?”

This question is part of the theme of the most recent production put on by the theatre department at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, “Carrie: The Musical.”

At first thought, having Stephen King’s classic horror story turned into an onstage production seems both daunting and unconventional. But the main message in the movie makes this story an appropriate title for teens in the production.

“It’s a show about bullying and the effects of bullying,” said Jason Campbell, director of the musical and faculty member at ARGS. “Unfortunately with what we have going on in the world today with all the mass shootings, school shootings, and stuff like that, I think that 75 percent of it comes down to bullying, and people who have been bullied. So I feel like it’s still a relevant story.”

Bullying has become more and more of a problem, leading to suicides across the country. For Campbell, this was an opportunity to bring attention to this issue and try to show students something positive.

ARGS used the opportunity to create an anti-bullying month at the school, in order to teach the students the importance of being kind to others, and not being a bully. The school held an assembly, workshops, and had a guest author come speak, as well as having the visual arts majors create artwork, which is on display in downtown Petersburg.

The anti-bullying month focused on all types of bullying; physical, social, verbal, as well as cyber bullying.

The story of Carrie has been made into two movies, but is known to most as a horror story. In 1988, the show was produced on Broadway, but was considered what Campbell described as “one of the biggest flops in musical theatre history.”

In 2012, the creators revamped the show, making it more up to date and toning down the horror aspects of the original story.

“When you put it all together, it’s not a horror musical,” Campbell said. “One wouldn’t think of Carrie as being a story about love, but it really is.”

The relationship between Carrie, played by Peyton Vernier, and her mother Margaret, played by Grace Mincks, is another main focus of the musical. While Margaret loves her daughter, she is sickened by Carrie’s want to belong and be a part of what other students are doing, even though they make fun of her regularly.
ASHLEY MCLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Students at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School put on “Carrie: The Musical” on Sunday.

The cast of Carrie included students from freshman to seniors, most of which have performed many times before. They agreed that the performance was different than what they had done in the past, but understood how it related to them.

“I think it really gets the teenage idea across more than any other musical I’ve seen,” said Daniel Kunkel, who plays Tommy, the nice guy who tries to help Carrie feel included by inviting her to the prom, at the request of his girlfriend Sue, played by Emma Fralin.

“It shows an actual portrayal of high school, which is nice, but its still way different than the movies,” said Emma Burge, who plays Chris, the mean girl who comes up with the plan to dump blood on Carrie at the prom.

This scene was included in the production by ARGS. A product called Blood Jam was used in this scene, in which Carrie wins prom queen and gets blood dumped on her head as a prank.

“It was actually refreshing, because it gets kind of hot up on stage,” said Vernier of the scene.

The show was put on and used as a way to raise money for the Born This Way Foundation, founded by artist Lady Gaga in order to help young people create a safe environment and community, allowing for diversity and individuality.

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