By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Play about suicide is not appropriate for students to perform
Placeholder Image

      We all know that teenage suicide is a problem nationwide. In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ( Against this background, Statesboro High’s One Act Play group is putting on a production of “'Night, Mother.” 
      From Wikipedia: “'Night, Mother… is about a daughter, Jessie, and her mother…. The play opens with Jessie calmly telling Mama that by morning she'll be dead, as she plans to commit suicide that very evening (she makes this revelation all while nonchalantly organizing household items and preparing to do her mother's nails). The subsequent dialogue between Jessie and Mama slowly reveals her reasons for her decision, her life with Mama, and how thoroughly she has planned her own death, culminating in a disturbing – yet unavoidable – climax.”
      The play ends when Jessie goes into her bedroom (her mother is screaming and pleading with her to not do it), says “’Night, Mother,” closes the door, and kills herself with a shotgun.
      How do I know this? Because my teenage sister was supposed to be the one to make the shotgun sound effect during the play. Upon hearing of this, my mother quickly took steps to remove my sister from this production. My mother was appalled to hear my sister describe the play (and the movie adaptation she watched in her drama class with Mr. Frazier) as “cool.” 
      “And the mama is standing there screaming for her not to do it.  And we get to make the gunshot sound.  Isn’t that cool?”
      “No, ma’am. It’s not.”
      My mother contacted the school and spoke to a guidance counselor who was as disturbed to hear of this production as she was.  She said she’d bring it to the attention of Dr. Marty Waters, Statesboro High’s principal.
      Dr. Waters said that he was aware of the production and supported it to “promote awareness” of suicide. He also said my sister couldn’t transfer out of the class, as my mother requested.
      While I support dialogue and awareness about suicide, I ask all responsible parents and family members of SHS students to contact the Board of Education at 764-1612 to encourage the superintendent to overrule Dr. Waters’ poor and potentially dangerous decision to use this disturbing play as an awareness vehicle.
      For example, it doesn’t address the familial consequences of suicide. It does, however, let these students portray and act out a successful suicide. It seems to me that this play would only raise awareness of how to finalize one’s plans for suicide.
Jason Williams

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter