There’s something wonderful about ‘Mean Girls’

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent 
   For many young people, the response to bullies and “mean girls” is to dehumanize them and see them as nothing more than plastic.
   This is what the musical “Mean Girls” at the Durham Performing Arts Center is all about. Based on the beloved 2004 movie, this production brings the story alive with energetic pop-style numbers, all while keeping in all the characters and lines we love to quote.
   The show follows former Kenya-dwelling homeschooler Cady Heron (Danielle Wade) finding where she belongs in the public high school scene. She meets loveable duo Janis (English Bernhardt) and Damian (Eric Htuffman), but also gets sucked into the world of the “Plastics”- Regina (Mariah Rose Faith), Gretchen (Megan Masako Haley), and Karen (Olivia Renteria). Throughout the story, Cady goes on a journey of self-growth, as well as learning lessons about friendship and being yourself along the way.

‘I am enough’ … and so are you

By Kamryn Guye

More than 3 million people suffer with depression. / Metro Creative Graphics

Wake up in the morning. Eat breakfast. Go to school. Go to swim practice. As easy as these tasks may sound, for someone suffering from clinical depression, these are some of the hardest things in the world. Every breath is exhausting. Every activity, draining. Both physically, mentally and spiritually.

   When I was 11, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I was bullied relentlessly by my peers, up until my parents began to worry about me. I was threatened, followed, teased, taunted and tormented for months on end. I was even groped by another student during gym class when I was 13. But despite all this, my school opted to do nothing, thus allowing me to suffer and sparing punishment for those who taunted me.
   My parents had me in therapy from the time I was 11, up until I was 15. It didn’t really do much for me, though. I never learned how to cope with my issues. And so my depression prevailed.
   I went to high school, and things seemed to get better, at least for a while. And then, the spring of my sophomore year, I started spiraling. I finally knew what it was like to be alone. I wasn’t happy. Someone was always upset with me about something. I felt broken. Worthless. Empty. I didn’t want to go to school anymore. I didn’t care about my work. I almost flunked that entire semester in three weeks. It took me three months to fix it.
   I reached my lowest point when I started to self-harm, as a way of punishing myself for not being “good enough.” I blamed myself for not being able to reach the standard of other people.
   Depression is an illness that more than 3 million people suffer with, yet if you don’t suffer, you don’t understand what it’s like. How exhausting it is to wake
read more…

‘Come From Away’ is a memorable masterpiece

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent
   DURHAM — “Come From Away” is the story of simple human kindness acting as a shining light in the darkness, and how it affects those around us.
    Everyone knows about the horrific acts that took place on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City, but few know the story of a town in Newfoundland, Canada called Gander.
    When 38 planes were unexpectedly ordered to land in the town as a precaution following the attacks, thousands of people were left without resources or a place to stay. “Come From Away” centers around the passengers on one of these planes and their relationships with the welcoming “Newfoundlanders”.
    “Come From Away,” which is being performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center through Sunday, is made up of beloved characters. What makes this show especially unique is that every actor plays more than one character and is often changing costumes, personalities and even accents at the drop of a hat.
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