Themes of grief, depression, abandonment, peer pressure, school pressure and family tension … all set to music.
Seems like a tall order for any play, but Case’s Conflict Resolution Crew is handling it. “Scrap Metal Soul” is presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the school, 7345 Washington Ave.
Chris, played by senior Arthur Miller III, deals with the loss of his father and three of his best friends in separate car accidents. The audience goes along on his journey as he deals with guilt and depression while trying to stay on track to graduate.
"Add music and a painful story becomes transcendent, it becomes universal,” said Meade Palidofsky, the artistic director of Storycatchers Theatre in Chicago.
Palidofsky has acted as a consultant to the CRC production for several years through her friendship with teacher Nancy Gibson. Gibson also reached out to Chicago musician Myron Silberstein to compose the music for the student-written play.
Conflict Resolution Crew, a junior and senior class, uses team-building and leadership development to help decrease conflict in school and out. The program’s future is uncertain at this point because of budget issues.
Becca Small, a senior, said the class is about more than a play.
“It’s about how you present yourself, and how to be in front of people,” she said. “There are some really important life lessons we learn.”
Small plays Chris’ sister Allie, who struggles with the losses and peer pressure at school. She said for her, the biggest lesson is self-confidence
“It’s being able to stand in front of people,” she said. “Freshman year, that wouldn’t have happened. Now, I’m the first one to volunteer to speak to groups.”
If the number of class alumni who come back to help Gibson and her crew each year is any indication, the lessons stick.
Brandon LaFrance, a 2003 graduate of Case High, said the experience had a profound effect on him. “I had a bad temper and got … well, I was very angry,” he said. “I learned how to deal with my own emotions and how they affect other people.” He comes back each year to have that same impact on more kids.