School play based on Columbine shooting

After several years of comedic productions, the drama department at Middletown Christian School is taking on a serious tone.

A cast and crew of 30 students will present “It’s Not Too Late,” a Christian drama musical based on the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. It’s a story of decisions people make about God, specifically the story of Cassie Bernall who was killed in Columbine after affirming her believe in Christ, said co-director and English teacher Susan Dugas.

“It’s dramatic and we weren’t sure the kids would take to it,” Dugas said. “The moment I read it I said, ‘This is what God wants us to do; I just feel it.’ ”

Dugas said the drama department — co-directed by teacher Hillary Young — added a few additional church songs to the production, including “Amazing Grace.”

“We didn’t want it to be scary or offensive; it’s very moving and deep,” Dugas said.

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“I’m sure there will be tons of tears in the audience,” said senior Jeff Hembree, of Middletown, who plays a lead character. “After I read the roles, the seriousness hit home to me,” Hembree said. “Those families that wake up every day still don’t have a brother or sister.”

The production by the students in grades nine through 12 includes scenes of bullying, students debating their beliefs in God, and a shooting scene in the school library. Dugas said it will not be a graphic scene, but will focus on the use of dark and red lighting and sound effects.

“Bullying can lead to dramatic consequences, too,” Dugas said.

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