Fairview theater’s #Viral has powerful message for audience

Heather Mann

FAIRVIEW – Mark Dobbs, Fairview High School theater teacher and director of Fairview Theater Works, put together a simple yet powerful performance over the weekend at the school's auditorium. With assistant director Leah Rodriguez, light/sound technician Ally Grund and technical assistants Katie Tucker and Kayley Hall, Dobbs helped deliver several important messages through FTW's rendition of the short play "#Viral."

The play's central plot point revolves around a cruel prank played on an unnamed high school "queen bee," involving shaving her bald and stripping her down to her underwear and then posting pictures of the event online. The story is told by six female characters who were each connected to the prank in some way:

Megan (Beth Ozbolt): The girl who actually shaved the queen bee. She used to be the girl's best friend but claimed that the victim "had it coming" after the mean pranks she had pulled on the other members of their friend group.

Deb (Allison Frost): The girl who stood by and watched. She insisted that the girl knew they were joking and was being a hypocrite for not being able to handle being treated the way she had treated others.

Anna (Averie Harris): The shy girl who did nothing in order to avoid confrontation. She didn't agree with what the other girls did but she didn't want to stir up any trouble, so she stayed quiet.

Morgan (Abbie Compton): The girl caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She ended up in the locker room where the prank took place by coincidence, but her idea of minding her own business and not getting involved in the other girls' drama allowed the cruelty to happen.

Lucy (Cayla Allen): The girl who spoke up. She saw what happened and immediately ran for a teacher despite knowing that she would lose her friend group for it.

Barbara (Kelly Harrington): The teacher. She helped the girl get dressed, called her parents, talked to the principal and filed the report.

The girls were joined on stage by the personified voices of Internet “trolls,” played by Devin Burks, Devan Humes, Aaron Moylan, Jesse Smith and Richard Stewart. The boys brought to life the cruel comments that people left on the pictures of the bald, naked queen bee, reading out comments like "ugly," "worthless," "she should be ashamed" and "go kill yourself." Later they took on the voices of the outraged parents who blamed the school and administration for not supervising the girls' activities. It was at this point that Barbara gave a message to the parents in the audience: Stressed and over-worked school teachers are responsible for teaching students math, science and reading. Basic human decency is for the parents to teach.

One of the main themes throughout the act was the idea that women have to knock each other down in order to raise themselves up. Girls grow up being taught that they need to be in competition with each other, that another girl's beauty or intelligence or virtue somehow diminishes their own. The need to be the best at the expense of others is toxic, and young women need better messages throughout their lives to let them know that it's okay to not be perfect at everything.

Fairview Theater Works has four more productions planned through the remainder of the school year. “The Seven Torments of Craig and Amy” will be performed on Friday, March 24. Tuesday, April 18 will be the middle school production of “The Wizard of Oz” and the high school production of “Jerry Finnegan's Sister.” The final play of the year will be “The Last Day of School,” performed on Monday, May 15 by the senior class. All performances will start at 6 p.m.