A look behind bars: ‘Juvie’

Drama Club performs play about teenage characters in juvenile detention

Murderers, thieves, shoplifters, kidnappers. They stood together, hand in hand. Criminals, rapists, vandalists and gangsters. They faced the harsh hands of justice and the blinding spotlights; awaiting their verdicts with teary eyes. Daughters, sons, friends, classmates. Their punishments awaited and their fates were sealed. This was their future, these were their stories.

This is “Juvie,” a drama production put on by BVH’s Drama Club at Bolles Theatre that took place from May 9 to 10. The plot of the production follows the story of a young group of juveniles as they look back on the events that led them to find themselves on the cold floors of a detention cell.  

“This year we wanted to do something that’s relatable and can really connect with students. We’d like for students to see the consequences of their actions, and this is the reality,” English 10 and Drama teacher Rosamaria Sias said.   

Sias described how she and her students had been rehearsing for weeks leading up to their first performance on Thursday, May 9 which lasted from 5 – 6:30 pm. After performing plays in the style of parodies and comedies within the last two semesters, the drama students were eager to produce a play that could truly connect with audiences by displaying characters who had experienced  struggles they could relate to. One of those characters was “Carry Miller,” who was played by sophomore Dana Tween.

“I think that if I were one of those people among the crowd and had gotten to seen it through their eyes I’d be really emotional because you don’t know if your friends or family go through these struggles,” Tween said. “So it’s really about how the real world works, which is one of the most important things.”

Throughout the play, a series of monologues were performed, essentially acting as flashbacks to the life-changing events that led the juveniles to find themselves behind the bars of a cold detention cell. Monologue after monologue, audiences were left silent as the emotional stories behind the characters were “real and powerful,” according to sophomore Renee Fegan, who attended the play’s first screening.

“Most high school plays have a happy ending, so I like that this play shows that this is not always the case. These stories are so real and had actual people; it seemed like this was something that could’ve happened here in San Diego,” Fegan said.

After a semester of preparations, drama students still found themselves nervous to take to the stage as their opening night managed to bring in a full house. Every seat had been filled and every ticket had been sold; requiring latecomers to attend the play the next evening.      

“The drama kids were feeling queasy backstage and a couple of them told me that they were scared to go out there. They got a little teary eyed when they had to do that final roll call scene. The fact that they were able to go out there and do their best despite the packed house, that takes a lot of courage,” Sias said.   

Despite the nerves, the drama students were able to “perform to their best abilities” according to junior Charlsie Santana and received an overwhelming applause from the audience as the curtains closed.   

“They all did really good and I truly believed in all of their stories,” Fegan said. “You could see the time and effort put in because all of their memoirs and all their emotions were so well displayed throughout the show.”  

As the seats were emptied and the theatre grew silent once more, the drama students rejoiced in their successes together and began planning for the following day’s performance.

“We all face these challenges as a family and, I know it’s corny, but at the end of the day we come together as one. I think being able to find these friendships and make these bonds is the best part,” Tween said.