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Diificult Play with a Powerful Message

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Lucia Wang, Staff Writer

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For the spring of 2018, Bedford’s 7th and 8th graders are putting on an intriguing and relevant play, one that was rejected by many districts because it was determined “too harsh.” However, it carries an important message surrounding the topic of bullying in middle school, which is why BMS is rehearsing for the upcoming theatrical work titled “Higher Ground.” TO RESERVE TICKETS, CLICK HERE.

The play follows a number of middle school students and their struggles with bullying. In particular, it puts a spotlight on the victims’ unhappiness caused by the bullies. “It raises awareness for different types of bullying,” says Mrs. Karen McCormick, the director. “It really just shows the misery created by people bullying other people.”

The play has been around for a while, but it sparked controversy amongst the community when it was deemed too mature for a middle school audience. “It was done for the first time eight years ago, and it was written by a teacher,” Mrs. McCormick explained. “The play wasn’t allowed to be done by the school district because it was too harsh. It made it all the way onto national media.”

Although “Higher Ground” does not sugarcoat the rough scenarios that occur due to bullying, it carries constructive qualities that help teach students about the subject. “It reminds people how they should stand up when they hear or see bullying, and also that people should just back each other up,” Mrs. McCormick added.

With all of this, it can often be difficult to act out – especially for middle schoolers. There are two distinct categories of roles within the play: the victims and the bullies. While actors playing victims have trouble trying to realistically portray the characters’ misery, those playing bullies are also confronted with issues, namely appearing as cruel and harsh as their characters are.

To this, Mrs. McCormick responded, “Usually kids who play the bully are kind of uncomfortable. [They] just say such nasty and stupid things. Generally, people want to play the victim.” Most people are not bullies like the have to portray, so it takes some getting used to being mean and not second guessing themselves.

Getting past these obstacles simply take time and practice. According toMrs. McCormick, “The more [the actors] practice, they just know that they are just acting.”

So even though “Higher Ground” might appear harsh, even for actors, it carries indubitable importance when it comes to raising awareness and teaching kids on the always-relevant topic of bullying. “Higher Ground” will be playing at Bedford on May 11 and May 12.

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