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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

“Heathers: High School Edition” is Striking

The cast of Heathers: High School Edition perform. Photo courtesy Trina Wright

Youth Theatre Northwest put together an entertaining production of “Heathers: High School Edition” from March 3 through March 26.

Starting strong, the musical opens with a song performed by the entire cast. The song is light, fun and energetic, resulting in a great first impression of the show. The quality of the production is incredible: the sound system functions perfectly and the set is beautifully designed.

We were blown away by the actors’ performances, but there are aspects of the production that could use work. There is an abundance of talent, but within the vocals of the show there was some strain in some of the higher pitched runs like frequent voice cracks. It was apparent that some notes were very difficult to reach but they could have been adjusted to reduce strain.

The cast and creative team took on the challenge of approaching dark topics in a humorous way that the audience could digest. As this story is a satire, themes of suicide and suicidal ideation were embedded in humor. Characters are forced to deal with deaths of their friends and peers and struggle with their own mental health. The humor enhanced the enjoyment of the show while sensitivity around the themes was not lost; it was clear that the actors were careful as to how it was conveyed.

The cast and crew have thoroughly discussed how to approach the topics comedically without undermining their weight. “There were a lot of cast discussions,” actor Milo Mechem-Miller said. “There were some lines and aspects of it that we weren’t comfortable with so we either removed or changed [them with permission] because we felt that [they weren’t] necessary for the story or humor.”

However, the majority of the scenes addressing suicide were not taken lightly and the context behind each character’s struggle with mental health was not overlooked.

“Heathers” as a musical is extremely dramatic and fast paced, but the extreme plot twists make the story overwhelming. The non-stop staged suicides and scheme of bombing the school reduces the show’s intended emotional impact.

Despite the few issues within the performance as a whole, the acting is strong, especially Frieda Sua’s Ram. As a football jock, Sua did an outstanding job tackling the dark topics of rape and sexual assault hilariously and thoughtfully.

With an entertaining plot and impressive performances, Youth Theatre Northwest’s production of “Heathers” is exciting to watch, but the text’s humorous approach to its delicate subject matter is inconsistent.

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About the Contributors
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!
Julia Weisfield
Julia Weisfield, A&E Editor
Julia Weisfield (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and is the Arts and Entertainment Editor. Outside of school hours, she enjoys reading, skiing and traveling to new places. Julia is a 2nd year member of the MIHS Drill team and the MIHS Islander.

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    Jayce MadambaApr 20, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    An amazing performance out there for them! Nice job Kira and Julia!