High school isolation and social pressures explored in play at Lycoming College

The estrangement and social pressures of high school are explored in the play, “columbinus,” to be held at 7 p.m., March 2, 3 and 7 in the East Hall Coffeehouse on the Lycoming College campus. East Hall is located on the corner of Franklin St. and Washington Blvd. A talk back session with the actors and director will be held after each production. The play is free and open to the public.

The student-led production showcases the struggles of eight teenagers, each represented as archetypes with names like Freak and Jock, as they move about their daily activities. The first act depicts the taunting by classmates that slowly shapes the insanity of two of the teens, and is followed in the second act by the explosive consequences of their alienation.

Written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, “columbinus” is loosely based on the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado. The play includes excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community members in the town of Littleton, as well as excerpts from diaries and home video footage of the two perpetrators.

The play, directed by theater student Nigel Semaj B., is one of several events being held on campus to provide opportunities for students to talk about bullying, peer pressure and positive ways to diffuse negative social tensions. The activities, which started in early February with Random Acts of Kindness Week, will culminate with a round-table discussion March 8.

Students Nigel Semaj B., Jacob Quasius and Victoria Dent, in collaboration with Lycoming College’s Office of Student Life, organized the play and other activities.