“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Relates to Students

By Morgan Gstalter

The story of the high school kid living life in high school has been overdone. We all know this. There are many stories trying to portray the hardships of the “average” kid.  TV shows and movie usually have 20-something year olds trying to portray the lives we live.  But into this arena steps the Niles West Advanced Theater class with their rendition of “The Perks of Being a Wall Flower” and finally, the endless parade of trashy teenage angst has ended.

The set up was simple. A few red folding chairs. No fancy props or costumes. The cast was all dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt. Most of them were rocking Converse. And on May 21, a group of kids put on an amazing play. The story took place in the 90’s, but still run out as true as if it was being told in 2012, or even 2034 because the hardships faced by Charlie are frequent.  Bullying, teenage pregnancy, suicide,  and LGBTQ issues are all hot topics of debate in high schools and it was in the Black Box Theater at 4:00 and & o’clock this past Tuesday. The story follows Charlie, played by sophomore Daniel Bedoya, through his freshman year. His best friend is no longer around. He is suddenly trying to handle his hormones.  He falls in love. He experiments with his sexuality. He experiments with drugs and has a allusions with the entire cast circling around him under a blue light. I laughed out loud at that point.

When I sat down to write this review, I tried to think of the pros and cons. Pros: the story itself, acting, set-up, lighting and sound effects. The effects were minimal, with a few classic songs from the soundtrack created by Charlie in the book.  Theater director Andrew Sinclair laughed in the Q & A afterward, saying that his “iTunes account is really nice right now.” But when I think back to my little notepad and my memories, nothing stands out as being a con. It was simple. In a world full of CGI- effects and hundreds of horrible romantic comedies with the same redundant and predictable plot line, it’s rare and treasured when a performance comes around, by a group of kids, that is simple, raw and real.

For the audience, ranging in age, the round of applause at the end of the performance was roaring. For the audience, it was a hour performance that was well worth it. But to the twenty-something group of students, it was a semester long effort that went out with a final bang. The students spent their class period every day working to condense the novel by Stephen Chbosk into a 34 page script.

Now, while the book is actually being turned into a movie on the big screen in September, including an all-star class like Emma Watson from Harry Potter Logan Lerman(“Percy Jackson” series), but seeing it on the small stage left its impression.