Scool Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano with the cast and crew of "dont u luv me."
The general public got a chance Thursday evening to see what 9th and 10th grade high school students in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools saw during class this week. The College of Southern Maryland’s Cause Theater’s “don’t u luv me?” tells the story of an abusive dating relationship of a high school boy with his girlfriend. The play was written by Laura Daugherty with the Dallas Children’s Theater. The public showing was at Leonardtown High School.
The performances in the schools were made possible by a grant from the Kristen Mitchell Foundation. Mitchell was murdered by her boyfriend three weeks after she graduated from college. Norma Pipkin of the St. Mary’s County Commission for Women pushed to have the presentation in the schools and was able to secure the grant. Walden-Sierra and CSM also were sponsors of the event.
Before the production, St. Mary’s County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano said of the collaborative effort, “How cool is that to see all of these people coming together for our young people>’ He said interacting with students was the greatest part of his job, but he doesn’t tolerate bullying. He said the person being bullied can break the cycle by asking the perpetrator to stop what they are doing.
Martirano cautioned the community about the students’ use of Facebook, charging that it is filled with racist and sexist comments that are “unchecked.” He said he monitors computer usage in his own household by his children and urged other parents to do the same.
The “don’t u luv me/” production tells the story of Angela (played by Mia McCaslin) who falls for jock CJ (played by Rusty Hrabe) and winds up being dominated by his jealousness and ultimately beaten. Some of her friends fail to support her but Jen (played by Christina Manly) befriends her. The play creatively flashes text messages between the characters on a large screen. The final scene shows Angela tearing up a letter from CJ asking that they get back together.
The play is directed by H. Keith Hight with Kenneth Waters, Jr. the state manager and Simone Hanna the assistant stage manager. Other members of the cast are Sean Smith, Alex LaClair, Laura Stephens, Alyshia Bradley and Brandon Jones
After the production members of the cast and crew sat on the stage and answered questions from the audience. Hight said the production was well received by the high school audiences and some of the students talked to counselors about their problems after seeing the production. He said to those in attendance, “Don’t be afraid to go home and hug your kids.”
Martirano said his wife told him once, “The best gift you can give to your children is to love your wife.” He said that’s a message to be embraced by all males. “If young people don’t find love at home they are going to find it somewhere else.”
According to CSM’s website, “The Cause Theater program produces challenging and timely theater pieces that address social and health issues.” Their next production, ‘The Laramie Project,” deals with the murder of a gay 21-Year old student in Wyoming and will be presented March 22 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Leonardtown campus and March 29, also at 8 p.m. in the FA Building, Room 143 of the La Plata campus.