GREENVILLE – Not all young romances result in a happy ending.
So on Thursday morning, the Greenville High School Theater Club performed a special play educating their fellow classmates about abusive relationships, called “Dont U Luv Me.”
“We were really blessed to be able to present it this year to the school,” Producer Cheryl Collins said. “I really loved the response from the kids. We got their attention.”
The theater club performs a social awareness topic each year for the Southwest Area Theater Conference, but this was the first year it was presented to the high school student body.
“For us to have this opportunity, especially to perform here for the high school, it’s a big deal,” Director Chris Phillips said. “It’s just incredible that we had that opportunity.”
“Our concern was mainly how it would play in front of a large audience. But the fact that the kids really came around during the times when things got serious in the play, it said a lot about them. The performance was just excellent,” Greenville High School Principal Ken Neff said.
Phillips said the play dealt with important subject matter that was critical for many high school students.
“This one ‘s near and dear to me. I guess it’s inspiring for me to watch (our club) do something like this,” he said. “Something amazing just happens with this, and I love it.”
The Greenville club saw “Dont U Luv Me” performed three years ago at the state theater competition and decided to adopt it for their own.
The Greenville High School Theater Club will compete against six other area theater groups at their conference this weekend at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton. If the club does well, they’ll progress to the state conference.
Phillips said the troupe has performed mostly comedies in the past, so they learned a lot while working on a play about abusive relationships.
“I think it went really great. I’m happy the audience was so into it and enjoyed it. We were kind of worried about having the school audience, but I think they really enjoyed it and I’m happy with the way it turned out,” he said.
The play deals with a high school relationship between two characters named C.J. and Angela. Their relationship starts off innocently enough, but eventually devolves into an abusive situation. C.J. initially gives Angela attention and makes her feel popular, but as time goes on he begins to cut her off from her friends and pressure her into negative behavior. Angela’s friends eventually become concerned when she begins to lie and cover up C.J.’s possessive behavior. Angela recognizes the relationship deteriorating, but reluctantly stays after C.J. threatens suicide. During the play’s finale, Angela makes a final decision that breaks off their relationship.
“There’s been adolescents that I’ve worked with in the past, that it was like watching their story,” said Darke County Mental Health Clinical Director Karen Scott-Pine.
Greenville’s center stage featured a large cell phone prop which displayed texts from the main characters, demonstrating the negative turn the relationship was taking.
Angela was played by Kelly Snyder, C.J. was played by Heath Maker, Jen was played by Asya Lewis and Sam was played bye Zeppelin Hoehn.
As the play concluded, cast members took the stage to recite relationship abuse statistics, driving home the importance of the topic.
A question and answer period followed the play where Karen Scott-Pine discussed the lessons learned from the play.
“The Q and A period was great because we got some other information out and talked about the serious content in the play,” Neff said.
“I think high schoolers get lectured at all day, so to see it in a medium that’s more teen-friendly, I’m hoping that has a bigger impact,” Scott-Pine said.