This fall, Broughton High School presented their fall play, Bang Bang You’re Dead. It was used to raise awareness about what causes violence in school.
The play followed the life of Josh, a high school boy, who is constantly tormented and laughed at by his peers. One day, Josh finally decided that enough is enough. He shoots his mother and father, and then continues to the school with his rifle, where he shoots five kids — a total of seven people. Throughout the play, Josh has remorse about what he has done; the ghosts, or hallucinations, of the kids that he killed visit him throughout the play. He is also visited by his alter-ego, or “shadow self,” who is the part of him that inspires him to commit the acts that he does.
Upon entering the auditorium, I was handed a program with a picture of the playbill on the front. Their design was genius. A large blue cloud surrounded Josh, representing his conscience. The five purple figures in the cloud represented the kids that Josh shot and killed. Emerging from the blue cloud was another figure — Josh’s “shadow” or his alter-ego, which was holding a balloon. Whenever Josh became angry, his shadow lurked around the stage while simultaneously blowing up a balloon. Josh and The Shadow became synchronized and, as soon as Josh said he was ready to “pop”, The Shadow used a blade to pop the balloon.
The bottom of the poster read, “Sometimes bad dreams do come true”. Whenever Josh was angry at the students for mocking him, he would dream that he could pull out his gun and shout “Bang! Bang! Bang!” so that all of students were dead. However, the next day when he went to school, they all “came back to life”.
When the play first began, I was surprised to see just a dark grey box on the stage. It was the only set piece used throughout the entire show. Since I have a technical theatre background, I’m used to having a full set, so this was quite a change to me. Over the course of the performance, the box was used as a coffin, a courtroom, a truck, a bench, and a lunch table.
I personally did not enjoy the sound throughout the play. The microphones worked fine but whenever there was a scene change or the lights had to go down for some reason, heavy-metal rock music played, and I was reminded of something I might hear in a movie. Personally when I think of theatre, I think of classical music or small bursts of sound that help move along a scene, not the heavy rock that boomed throughout their auditorium.
The lighting was a bit different; since almost the entire play took place in Josh’s head, a spotlight was kept on him, and the five kids that he killed visited him in “ghost” form. The audience couldn’t see the ghosts in the dark until they turned on their flashlights, a genius idea which gave the illusion that they appeared out of the darkness like ghosts.
The actors were excellent and portrayed their characters with emotion and pride.
Overall, I really enjoyed the play. Usually a minimalistic set isn’t my style, but it really worked well throughout this show.