Learning how to survive high school

L’ANSE – For a lot of people nearing the end of 8th grade, the thought of moving on to high school can be an intimidating concept. But the students in the L’Anse High School Drama Club may be able to allay those fears with their production of “The High Schooler’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Told through a series of vignettes that exemplify the fears that most students entering high school have, the play attempts a humorous look at the situations that either frighten or are stress inducing. Some of which include: the dreaded gym class (and teacher), the inedible lunches, bullying, the mysterious teachers’ lounge and a host of other humorous situations.

For the students performing the show, they couldn’t be having more fun, as most of them are already well within the throes of high school and know that the expectations are often a grave exaggeration of the reality of high school.

What they’ve enjoyed the most is just having fun rehearsing for a play.

“I’ve enjoyed all the goofs that go on during practice,” said Jacob McGahan, a student at L’Anse High School. “The first read through took forever because it was the first time we’ve seen it and we couldn’t stop laughing at every little thing.” McGahan also plays various parts in the show.

In fact, most students play more than one role as there are over 50 speaking parts.

The cast has been rehearsing since January – an admittedly long time to work on a play according to director Denise Laakko. But most of that is due not only to Spring Break, but also the unusually large amount of snow days the Copper Country has been subject to.

“It’s a little bit longer than I usually like to work on a play,” Laakko said.

Laakko initially had a different play in mind, but due to how many kids signed up to be involved, Laakko had to find something that would accommodate almost everyone, which led her to “The High Schooler’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

“It takes a little bit of the competitive edge off of it, but at the same time it helps to build the drama because kids know that it’s not going to be a put down if they don’t get as big of a part as they want,” she said.

The cast started the show by meeting two days a week to rehearse everything, but as time goes by they amp up their rehearsal schedule.

But the students, some of whom live several miles away, remain dedicated to giving worthy performances for the zany characters they portray.

“They’re easy to relate to because they’re high school kids,” McGahan said. “Once you read it, you get a feel for them and you’re like, ‘I know what this kid’s going through.'”

The students will all agree that the situations portrayed in the show are true to life, stopping though to say that lunch isn’t so gross and the bus drivers aren’t so crazy.

For 8th grade student Christopher Harden, the play has both calmed his fears and intensified them.

“It makes me a little excited for high school, but it also scares me a little.”

“The High Schooler’s Guide to the Galaxy” begins at 7 p.m. April 26 and 27 and 5 p.m. on April 28. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for those age 12 and under. Tickets will be available at the door.