‘Shed Some Skin’ glimpses high school life

By: Bridget Jones Journal Staff Writer
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A play about the realities of high school opens tonight. “Shed Some Skin” is an original production written and directed by Jason Long, Placer High School’s drama teacher. The play focuses on three situations occurring within a high school, and the rumors, assumptions and lies that come along with them. In the play, two teenage friends are involved in a car accident and one of them dies. Rumors swirl that the driver of the car may have been drunk. Another girl, who doesn’t seem to be very interested in academia, is accused of cheating when she gets a high score on her SAT’s. A final situation involves rumors that one classmate might be pregnant. The play is narrated by the character Alexis, played by 16-year-old junior Zoe Mallen, the girl who dies in the car crash. Long said the main purpose of this play is to explore how all of these situations affect the high-schoolers, not to necessarily get too deep into the topics themselves. “I think what we’re hoping for as a group is that it will become a conversation piece,” Long said. “We’re not trying to take any positions on certain topics. We don’t want to sound like we’re talking down to anyone. We don’t want to sound too much like a public service announcement.” Still, Long said that because the three sub-topics of the play are so relevant in today’s society, he is hoping adults might want to discuss these issues with their kids after seeing the production. “I guess my hope for the parents and grandparents is to be able to walk away and talk to their kids honestly about this stuff,” Long said. “All of these (topics) are things I’ve seen here as a student and a teacher, and they’re still fresh in my mind.” Mary Cait Hogan, 17, who plays Hannah, the student accused of drunk driving, said while there may be several messages for audiences in this play, one stands out in particular. “I think maybe the most important one is: don’t spread rumors about people,” Hogan said. “Talking bad about people is a waste of time.” Mallen said it’s been challenging to get into the role of a dead person who had an outcast lifestyle, and doesn’t seem to care that she died. “She’s actually not too sad about the fact that she died,” Mallen said. “She was kind of dead in the first place.” Seventeen-year-old senior Sara Gullett, who plays Sara, the sister of a student accused of cheating, said she thinks the play is a good precautionary tale. “High school can be stressful for a lot of people,” Gullett said. “These situations come up not just in high school, but as we grow up and go into the real world.” Charlotte Csontos, 16, who plays Sally, a student accused of cheating on her SATs, agreed and said the play shows how serious these types of situations can be when rumors get out of control. “We’re just dramatizing the repercussions if you take things to a serious extent,” Csontos said. Hogan said a factor of the play that she and fellow drama students particularly enjoyed was the involvement that Long encouraged from them. “Jason did a good job on the writing, and it was kind of cool that we got to help him edit it,” Hogan said. “If we had a line that sounded awkward and was something a teenager would never say, he was totally cool about changing it.” Long said the play will be full of his usual plot twists, and he hopes audiences will also enjoy it for its comedy. “Some of the play is funny, too,” Long said. “I hope it’s not all super heavy … because life is rarely like that. It’s much more common that light comes with the dark and humor comes with the tragedy.” ---------- Shed Some Skin When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday Dec. 11, Friday Dec. 12, Saturday Dec. 13 Where: Placer High School Theater, 275 Orange Street, Auburn Tickets: $5 sold at the door Call: Placer High School (530) 885-4581