Bruce Springsteen sings about glory days.
Will these characters be singing the same song?
Will they leave school only to pine for the time they spent in high school?
The characters in Springsteen’s song do.
But life is a little different for the characters in the Possibility Project’s story.
They deal with depression, homosexuality, rape and self image. And they deal with it every day.
“Each of the main characters goes through a different crisis,” Emily Townsend said.
She’s 18 and newly graduated from Baton Rouge Magnet High School. She’ll be attending Nicholls State University.
But that’s in the fall. First, she will join her 21 fellow members of The Possibility Project in staging The Glory Days.
That’s the title of The Possibility Project’s original musical production, which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9, in the Claude L. Shaver Theatre in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building.
Yes, The Glory Days. Are high school years really glorious? Or is triumph found in survival?
“They decide the path the production takes,” David Coley said. “We start talking in October, and they decide what issues are important to them.”
Coley is in his second year as artistic director for the Possibility Project, which examines the interrelationship of problems and conflicts that concern youth.
“Each year, The Possibility Project has two goals,” Coley said.
“They write, produce and perform an original musical from their lives and ideas for positive change. And they design, execute and evaluate community change projects that will improve their cities’ communities.”
Baton Rouge’s group is a branch of The Possibility Project’s international program, which formerly was known as City of Peace. As mentioned by Coley, the group began meeting in October.
And the group is represented by four schools this year: Baton Rouge Magnet High School, the Runnels School, McKinley Senior High School and the East Baton Rouge Lab Academy. Home-school students also are participating.
“We try to get the word out to all the area schools about the project,” Coley said.
“A lot of times, students find out about it through word-of-mouth.”
The group mostly is made up of ninth through 12 graders, though some college students have participated.
“As long as you are under 20, you can be a part of it,” Coley said.
All members must audition, though membership isn’t based on acting talent. Usually, all who apply are accepted.
Now the participants are ready to deliver their story to Baton Rouge audiences.
The group performed The Glory Days on June 1-2 on Baton Rouge Little Theater’s Second Stage, where it was both put together and rehearsed.
“They wrote the play, and they also wrote the lyrics,” Coley said. “They told our musical director how they wanted the song to go, and he wrote the music.”
“There are really only three songs in the play,” William Ingram later added.
Ingram is 17 and will be a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High in the fall. He joined Townsend and fellow Baton Rouge High student Aidan Harger in this conversation. Harger also is 17 and will be a junior in the fall.
“The songs connect the story,” Ingram said.
The story follows a freshman girl through her high school experience. She quickly learns that high school isn’t anything as it’s portrayed in movies, especially when witnessing fellow students deal with individual struggles. The girl and her classmates come to the realization that they must rely on each other if they want to survive these glory days.
Now, the issues here are obviously heavy, and the show contains some language geared toward mature audiences.
“But we do have some lighter moments,” Harger said. “You have to have that.”
It’s true. Even in real life people need to laugh, and there was some laughter at this moment when choreography was mentioned.
“Everyone in the cast is in the play,” Townsend said. “And everyone dances.”
Harger and Ingram glanced at each other. They’ll be the first to admit that dancing on stage isn’t their strongest talent.
“But it’s nothing complicated,” Ingram said. “The steps are basic and easy enough for everyone to learn.”
Besides, the glory isn’t in the dancing but in the message.
And the message here is powerful.
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