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|Be the Change, By Melissa Day|
The author, Melissa Day, is a Junior in High School in New York.
Setting: Modern day high school.
Jesse: Teenage boy/girl
Jesse’s mom: Middle aged woman
Principal: Middle aged/ older man or woman.
Janitor: Middle aged/ older man dressed in dirty jeans and a t-shirt or over-alls.
Teenagers to fill the halls, all ages, shapes, and sizes (one of these will be the teenager who leans against Jesse’s locker at the start of the play.Mary/James: The teenager who gives the monologue at the end of the play.
Lights up. A sign is up that say’s WELCOME BACK STUDENTS!; Jesse enters stage left and makes his/her way down the hallway eagerly and smiling. He/she’s wearing much worn clothes, the soles of his sneakers falling off. The hallway is littered with several other teens. He/she makes his way to the main office to receive a locker and its combination. He/she walks off stage right, walks back on stage a moment later with a piece of paper with his/her locker and its combination written on it. A school bell rings. More people fill the halls now, several run into him. His/her eager look disappears as he finds someone is leaning against the locker.
Jesse: (quietly) Ex-excuse me? This is my locker I was wondering if I could-
He/she stops talking as the person against the locker glares at him/her, as the student walks away from the locker, they spit in Jesse’s direction.
Jesse puts his/her extra school supplies in the locker and makes his/her way to his homeroom. He/she continually gets shoved, stepped on, and knocked around in the halls in his/her attempt to go to class. When he/she finally gets to his/her AP Algebra class, he/she sits in the second row near the window. As class begins most of his/her classmates are socializing while he/she seems to get smaller and smaller each time someone throws a paper plane at him/her.
We skip ahead to lunch. Jesse is walking towards a corner of the cafeteria behind a row of tables. A girl stands up rapidly and knocks his/her lunch out of his hands, some spills on the girl’s outfit. She gasps then turns and slaps Jesse before running off stage. With no lunch, Jesse turns around and makes his/her way offstage. We see tears sliding down his/her face.
It is now the end of the day. A school bell rings. Jesse shuts his/her locker after filling his/her rather old looking backpack with books and notebooks. He/she makes his/her way stage left, before exiting (s)he pauses for a moment a sighs looking at the empty hallway behind him/her.
(Several days later) On his/her way to class, Jesse is knocked down by a group of boys. His(her) backpack hits the floor and splits open, its contents spilling across the floor. The boys laugh and walk away. Jesse picks up as much as (s)he can carry and makes his/her way to his/her locker. After everything is in his/her locker, (s)he shakily walks to the bathroom trying to hold back tears.
Later we see/ hear Jesse being reprimanded for missing class, after school and Jesse’s mother is there (a woman dressed in neat business wear).
Principal: This behavior will absolutely not be tolerated young (wo)man, do you understand me? You are not permitted to wander the halls whenever you want. You are here to receive education, and I expect you to act like it. I expected more from you, if you ever skip class again you will be given more than a write-up.
As they walk out of the school (stage left), Jesse struggles to keep up with his/her mother’s fast pace, stumbling and stuttering as (s)he tries to explain why he missed the class. His/her mother does not look at him/her or acknowledge his/her attempt at explaining him/herself.
We see Jesse walking out of a door marked ‘Guidance Counselor’, (s)he appears upset.
Enter Jesse’s mother, the Principal, and a person in Janitor’s clothes. Jesse’s mother is crying, and the Principal and janitor both look extremely down trodden and upset. They are at Jesse’s locker, opening it and clearing out everything that was inside. Meanwhile another teenager (can be male or female) enters from stage right, and walks to center stage.
Teenager: Bullying is the use of physical, mental, and emotional attacks to intimidate others. Today, bullying at school and online is getting out of hand. This boy (or girl if played by girl) was pushed around, bullied, and attacked to the point that it made him (her) not want to be alive anymore. Don’t say anything to anyone that you wouldn’t want said to you. And if someone is bullying you or someone you know, do not be afraid to tell someone. Bullying has led directly to school massacres, suicides, and physical assaults on others. Whether someone is a different religion than you, a different ethnicity than you, a different sex than you, or even a different sexuality than you, it gives you no right to abuse that person. If you don’t like a person, stay away from them. You don’t know what’s going on with people outside of school, don’t make their lives harder than they have to be, and don’t be a person who hurts other people. Don’t push them like this boy (girl) was pushed; because no one deserves that. No one.
Lights begin to fade. Jesse’s mother and the Principal exit in tears, the Janitor wipes his eyes as he exits behind them. The Teenager stays center stage. Blackout.