TERRE HAUTE —
Andrew is a teenager with many problems.
His dad is cheating on his mom, and as a result, he loses his focus in high school and his grades are suffering — which could affect his college scholarship.
He learns his girlfriend is pregnant.
Weighed down by many burdens, Andrew falls into a deep depression and sees only one way out — he kills himself.
That was the scenario in “Dead Serious About Life,” a play/musical about the problems and choices teenagers face. An Ohio-based not-for-profit Christian group, Mishpachah Inc., performed the play Saturday and Sunday at Northview High School.
The production deals with teen suicide, pregnancy, abortion, bullying, sex, peer pressure, self- mutilation and much more.
The main goal of “Dead Serious” is to prevent teen suicide.
Susan Treash, who helped organize the showing of the production at Northview, hopes that teens who see the play realize “there is hope and there is help out there.”
The story begins when Todd and Stephanie, a brother and sister, are left alone for a weekend and decide to host a big party. It’s through the party that the audience learns about the variety of characters in the performance.
Justin O’Neil portrays Andrew, the teenager who decides to end his life. O’Neil wanted to perform in the play because as a teenager, he has seen “firsthand all these problems that kids my age deal with — myself included.”
A lot of kids “don’t really know there’s another way out besides cutting themselves or taking their own lives,” he said.
Through the play, “We let kids know there is a better way. You can tell people about your problems,” he said. “There are so many people who will listen — teachers, counselors at school, parents — if they aren’t part of the problem.”
Also, being part of a church “provides you with this community of people who can help you through the stuff you are dealing with,” O’Neil said.
Another performer, Rachel Sullivan, plays the character of Emily, who is shy, introverted and bullied by others at the party, which was her first. Andrew was “pretty much her only friend,” she explained
Sullivan wanted to be involved with “Dead Serious” because she wants to be part of changing lives, she said.
Cory Evans portrays the character Zack, an arrogant basketball player who bullies others. After the suicide, Zack feels badly about not being there for Andrew and not being aware that his friend was hurting.
While Zack’s father has been obsessed with his son’s success in athletics, Zack realizes there is more to life than playing basketball.
Evans said when he saw the play two years ago, he was experiencing his own dark times. “I knew I had to do this,” he said.
Madison MacKinnon plays Heidi, the “ho” at the party, who sleeps around with different guys. Heidi is promiscuous because it’s a way for her to get love and affection. Heidi’s parents don’t care about her and are not around, MacKinnon explained.
MacKinnon saw the play in seventh grade and “it changed my life.” She was considering suicide herself, but the play made her realize the tremendous hurt that suicide would cause those she loved.
Among those who saw the play over the weekend was Mannah Mace, 16, a Clay County high school student.
It helped open her eyes and realize that her peers really are dealing with those kinds of issues. “I need to be willing to help them get through rough times and not just stand back and do nothing,” Mace said.
She wants to be a friend who listens and talks to those who are hurting and tells them that everything will get better.
Mace said the students in the play “did a fantastic job” portraying real-life problems.
Mace’s brother, Asher, 14, said the play reminded him that he needs to make wise choices in his life.
It also helped him realize how he can help others deal with tough situations and make the right decisions, he said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE —
Andrew is a teenager with many problems.
Rose-Hulman professor researching ways to make homes storm safe
Tornadoes produce greater uplift forces than hurricanes, which can flatten homes such as in Moore Okla., south of Oklahoma City.
Group wants to connect downtown Terre Haute with the Wabash River
Fairbanks Park is underutilized.
The Wabash River is peaceful and inviting, but there is some concern about its cleanliness as well as pollution levels. Also, people can’t get on the river unless they have a boat.
New conservancy district appoints first directors
Members of the first board of directors of a new lake conservancy district were appointed Tuesday by the Vigo County Board of Commissioners.
Vigo law enforcement signs Triad charter to protect seniors
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Vigo County law enforcement and community activists Tuesday to sign the county’s first Triad charter, becoming the 22nd Triad in Indiana.
Wabash Valley Red Cross wraps up Save the Day Campaign
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter’s 2013 annual meeting concluded the 17th annual Save the Day Campaign, and the results lifted the spirits of all who were involved.
Some Vigo roads washed out
Spring storms resulted in $250,000 in damages to roads in southern Vigo County, with costs including sand and labor to save homes near river bottoms, said county highway Assistant Superintendent Dan Bennett.
County Council votes $78K toward rail spur
County officials voted Tuesday night to make good on a 2011 promise to help improve a railroad spur just north of Terre Haute for Menard Inc.
Spring flooding damages future CSO holding lagoon
Flood waters from the Wabash River have done costly damage to one of the city-owned “lagoons” on former International Paper property.
Vigo tops state average for IREAD-3 scores
The Vigo County School Corp. exceeded the state average in the percentage of students passing the state’s mandatory Grade 3 reading test, IREAD-3.
Storms cause minor damage in Valley
Tuesday morning storms in the Wabash Valley caused thousands of Duke Energy customers to lose power.
Kindergartner diagnosed with MD treated to a day with the fire department
“He’ll just never forget this day,” Stacey Manley said, a little bit tearfully, as she watched her smiling 6-year-old son Carter sitting happily in the captain’s seat of Fire Engine 2.
Casey, Illinois aims for another world record
The town of Casey, Ill., may soon weave its way into the record books as the small town with the most world records. After setting records for the world’s largest wind chimes and the world’s largest golf tee, Casey is now looking to become home to the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.
Rose-Hulman projects will promote growth, learning for people with physical challenges
Life changed dramatically for college engineering student Drew Christy on Feb. 22, 2008 when he was involved in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
‘500’ gas stations being sold to Speedway LLC
After several decades in business, the area’s familiar “500” gasoline stations and convenience stores will soon be missing from the roadsides of Vigo and Sullivan counties.
Terre Haute woman faces 14 charges
A Terre Haute woman faces 14 criminal counts after her arrest Friday on drug-related charges.
Two adults injured in ATV accident
Two adults were injured Sunday evening while riding an all-terrain vehicle near Lexington Farms Subdivision off Moyer Drive in southern Vigo County.
Vigo schools’ medical claims down 4 percent
The Vigo County School Corp.’s medical claims were about $13 million over the last 12 months, down 4 percent from the prior year, said Diane Titchenell, an Anthem account manager that works with the school district.
2013 Government Directory now available
The 2013 Government Directory is now available.
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
Boat trip aims to raise awareness about Lewy Body Dementia
In 2013, the Year of the River, it makes sense to link a grand adventure on the Wabash River with a good cause.
Legislature had little taste for alcohol bills
When it comes to alcohol, the 2013 legislative session may be marked more by what it didn’t do to boost booze sales than what it did.
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Is it regulation that doesn’t make sense or evening the playing field?
I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about how Indiana’s alcohol laws personally impact me, but that changed last fall when my daughter got married.
For Piper: Annual ‘Rush the Punter’ event dedicated to Dixie Bee student who died Wednesday after a short illness
Steve Weatherford’s “Rush the Punter” fundraiser at Fairbanks Park on Saturday was dedicated to a little girl who lost her life unexpectedly to pneumonia.
Vigo schools prepare to tighten belts
State funding for the Vigo County School Corp. will remain “pretty flat” for the next two years, said Donna Wilson, chief financial officer.
Veterans take to the trees
Cristal Bednar took photos of her husband, Justin, as he laboriously climbed his way up a “Dangle-Duo” to get to a zipline at Indiana State University’s Sycamore Outdoor Center.
Property owner seeks halt to Hulman Lake dam project
A Terre Haute property owner is seeking an injunction that would at least temporarily halt the city’s work on the Hulman Lake dam project.
Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality
Few things in nature are less predictable than a tornado. They can form quickly. They strike weirdly, leveling one building while leaving its neighbor untouched. They can fling a car a half-mile and turn a piece of lumber into a wall-piercing missile.
ISU unveils interactive Bayh Family Legacy Wall at school
A who’s who of Indiana Democrats paid tribute to Evan Bayh and several generations of the Bayh family Friday during a dedication of a new interactive display at Indiana State University.
Can you smell me now?
A contraband cell phone has been discovered by the Vigo County Jail’s youngest and most unique officer.
GIVING BACK: Steve Weatherford buys shoes for kids day before charity run
Terre Haute’s Steve Weatherford, punter for the 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, showed once again his generosity Friday by donating new athletic shoes to more than two dozen Vigo County kids.
- More News Headlines
- Rose-Hulman professor researching ways to make homes storm safe