HATBORO-HORSHAM HIGH SCHOOL PLAY “ADDICT” DEMONSTRATES THE REAL LIFE STRUGGLES, CONSEQUENCES OF DRUG ADDICTION
Jerome McDonough’s one-act play will take place at Hatboro-Horsham High School at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22.
HORSHAM — Hatboro-Horsham High School Theatre students will show the mental and physical battles that drug addicts endure every day, the consequences of their decisions and those who are affected by their choices. "Be a Part of the Conversation" — Hatboro-Horsham School District's drug and alcohol awareness program — is partnering with the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation (HHEF) to present a gritty and realistic story about addiction to students and the community at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22. The free event will be held at the high school, 899 Horsham Road in Horsham.
Jerome McDonough’s one-act play features ten characters — each uniquely different — who struggle with substance abuse. The 70-minute play takes audience members into these individuals’ lives and shows what fuels their addiction, including self-imposed achievement standards, stress, loneliness, low self-esteem and a desire to fit in.
Kristin Hannings, “Addict” director and Hatboro-Horsham High School English teacher, said the play is different from other productions in many ways, namely in the way that McDonough wrote it to be changed and adapted to modern-day language and drugs of choice.
“We felt that telling the everyday stories of addiction would be more authentic and genuine by making the characters' accounts and afflictions a bit more true to life,” Hannings added. “’Addict’ really gave us the ability to provide a renewed picture of addiction and explain that drug use and abuse is not merely a bad choice, but rather a person acting upon a deadly brain disease that compels them to use.”
Hannings, cast members and other organizers wanted to create a production targeted specifically to the Hatboro-Horsham community that serves as an open forum on drugs, addictions and personal struggles.
“Our motivation with ‘Addict’ is to present an educational piece of theatre. We didn’t just want to entertain our audience, but wanted to inform them about the unfortunate realities of drug abuse,” Hannings said.
During production, Hannings asked her 21-student cast — whose grades range from 10th to 12th — to be extremely honest about their personal stories relating to addiction. The response and motivation as to why students joined the cast has been powerful and insightful. Some students recounted tales of how they were around drugs and alcohol from an early age, witnessed family members nearly die from alcohol poisoning and lost a loved one to addiction. Other students have had minimal exposure to drugs or alcohol, but thought that becoming involved with the play might increase their understanding of those challenges.
“It is amazing to see how we have been able to connect and relate to one another’s struggles with addiction and use those conversations to enhance our production for the Hatboro-Horsham community,” Hannings said.
Hatboro-Horsham High School Principal Dennis Williams Jr. hopes “Addict” will show children, families and community members that there are real struggles occurring every day with drug and alcohol abuse.
"At risk behavior and drug use is occurring in every school community across the country, with the high school level being the most prevalent,” Williams added. “If schools are ever going to address these issues, we have to be transparent about what is occurring on and around our campuses.”
At the end of the play, there will be facilitated small-group "Conversations" at the high school. The voluntary session allows audience members to debrief and process the raw nature of the production, provide support and ask questions.
“Addict” is not recommended for children under 13.