Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. High school is full of stereotypes – or is it? Told in a series of interlaced vignettes, Stereotype High by Jeffrey Harr examines these “stereotypical” teens and how they fight tooth and nail to reinvent themselves.
The geek. The freak. The stoner. The dumb jock. The mean girl. The thespian. The slut. The lonely girl. High school is full of stereotypes – or is it? Told in a series of interlaced vignettes, these “stereotypical” teens fight tooth and nail to reinvent themselves. There’s nothing more powerful than the teen who stands alone, proud of who they are.
This play contains real situations, real feelings, and real thoughts about all the mature topics. Yes, that means sex, drugs and retainers.
Why did we publish this play?
This play will not be for everyone. It shows that teenagers are not sunshine and rainbows. They have real feelings, go through real situations, and have real thoughts on mature subjects, which is exactly why you should pick it up and you should do it.
Stereotype High shows what happens when teenagers try to break out of the box they’ve been placed in. And we’re not talking a cry fest, angst fest, “why does no one love” pity party. We’re talking three-dimensional characters who make decisions, make mistakes, and try to change.
I think it’s a lovely, lovely play. We’re so proud to include it in our catalogue. If you want an intro to this larger work, we publish some of the vignettes as smaller pieces – specifically check out You’re Cosplaying My Song and Master of Puppets.
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this play?
I wanted to put a bunch of different kinds of kids together–kids who had no business relating to one another–and let them work it out. Let them work to find a way to relate to one another on a level that goes beyond the stereotypes. As a teacher of 27 years, I have a deep respect for kids–every kind of kid–and this play allowed me to showcase a variety of them in funny, tender, painfully honest moments.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
Chimamanda Adichie once said that the problem with stereotypes isn’t that they’re not true, it’s that they’re incomplete. Kids are so much more than the labels we pin on them.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The most important visual in the play is at the beginning, seeing the eight main characters, each a different stereotype, stretched across the stage, their costumes defining them in their roles as they recite their mantra–that the great teenage high school social scene gods grant them the serenity to accept their stereotypes–and then, again, at the end of the play, only, this time, they’re in pairs, changed, enlightened, with a new mantra: they’re going to be who they want to be and if people don’t like it, they’ll have to get over it.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Keep it simple–the set pieces, the scene transitions, the flow of the show. Let the characters tell the story and keep it moving.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
For one thing, it’s so much fun. A blind date gone wrong, an audition from hell, a cosplay battle between Obi Wan and an elf queen, an awkward encounter in a gynecologist’s office? You can’t ask for better scenes. And there are monologues – juicy monologues that actors can sink their teeth into, one for each main character. Lastly, these characters have depth–they give student performers the chance to play a realistic, relatable teen with real-life issues. They’re a wonderful challenge for young actors.
Not right for your group right now? Search our play catalogue to find one that your performers will love!
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