‘Carrie The Musical’ brings forth bullying issues and the importance of having a safe space

The play runs April 25-27 at Katzen Arts Center

‘Carrie The Musical’ brings forth bullying issues and the importance of having a safe space
Bulletin board outside of the theatre hall.

American University’s Department of Performing Arts will present “Carrie the Musical” from April 25 to April 27. 

The production features a potent mix of AU theatre, art and film students in an effort to start conversations about bullying and safe spaces. 

This play is based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel about a high school girl who is bullied by the popular crowd and abused by her mother. Carl Menniger, the play’s director, chose the show because of its many female roles.

“We have a lot of talented women in our program. ‘Carrie’ appealed to us because there are so many female roles,” Menninger said in an email.

Auditions were held in November 2018 and rehearsals started in January with a cast of 22 students, six students on the stage management and production team, six students on the creative team and four musicians playing multiple instruments with professional staff. 

Ally Baca, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, will star as the play’s lead role Carrie White. She emphasized the importance of connecting with the emotional aspects of the character. 

“To get to such a vulnerable place, it’s really important to find the things that you feel in common with this character, especially [when they’re in] such a strong, strong situation,” Baca said.

The play addresses several themes, including bullying, abuse of power and self-doubt. Menninger said the messages in the play, especially the line “Once you see, you can’t unsee” encouraged viewers to call out bad behavior when they see it.

“There is no being a bystander,” Menninger said. “One of the last lines in the show is ‘what does it cost to be kind?’”

Baca added that Carrie’s character was unable to find any spaces to express herself safely in the play. She stressed the importance of the play’s message to reach out for help when you need it, especially on college campuses. 

“[It’s important] to reach out for help, to find an outlet; there are resources,” Baca said. “Being away from home, it can feel a little like Carrie in the closet, not really knowing which way to go, but knowing that there is always an opportunity to get help,” Baca said. 

JP Payro-Enciso, who plays Tommy, has lived in several places around the world and said that everywhere he went, he saw people who were ignored or weren’t given the support they needed.

“It’s important to be there for others, even when it isn’t obvious that they might need support,” Payro-Enciso said. “I feel like those are the ones that fall down into the cracks, and I think those are the ones we need to be most attentive to.”

“Carrie the Musical” will perform the rest of their shows from April 25-27 at 8 p.m. with an extra matinee performance on Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m in Katzen Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for the AU community. The production contains mature themes. 

arts@theeagleonline.com

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