Theatre Arts Class Explores the Arts in Pittsburgh


Mr. Switala’s Advanced Theatre Arts class

Jaycee M. Wood, Staff Writer

On Friday, May 5th, Mr. Switala’s Advanced Theatre Arts class took a field trip to Pittsburgh. Being an elective class, students in grades 9-12 were welcomed to this experience. The group was given a guided, interactive tour of the Carnegie Museum of Art. Then, after enjoying lunch at Point State Park, they visited Contemporary Craft Studio, a charming studio which has an art display and holds craft workshops available for anyone. After taking the Duquesne Incline and having Dinner at Giovanni’s Italian restaurant, the main attraction of the trip was seeing Dear Evan Hansen the Musical.

Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of the senior year of Evan Hansen, a teenage boy with severe anxiety and depression, who wants to make a connection with his peers. However, he ends up getting trapped in a lie involving the suicide of Connor Murphy, the brother of the girl with whom Evan is in love. In an attempt to dig himself out of this lie, he goes even deeper. After accepting the hard truth, Evan Hansen learns that no one is alone, and he is enough all on his own. This musical is perfect for high schoolers because it explores many issues that teenagers face daily, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, relationships, sexual orientation, social status, and divorce. The students in the Advanced Theatre Arts class not only witnessed the arts in Pittsburgh, but connected with each other on a deeper level.

There is lots to love about Dear Evan Hansen, and everyone in the audience notices different scenes and songs more than others. When sophomore Isaiah Snyder was asked what his favorite part of the show was, he replied, “My favorite part of Dear Evan Hansen would probably have to be the music and scenes right before and after ‘So Big/So Small’. The music was extremely touching to me because it revealed the insights of Evan’s true feelings, and then his mother talked about the whole divorce. Not only was the music and acting amazing, they both just hit home to me.” Although Isaiah’s favorite part of the show was not the most crucial part, he appreciated it the most because he related to the hardships Evan Hansen faced from his parent’s divorce.

Not only does the musical bring awareness to the effects of divorce on teenagers, but it is impactful in many other ways. Junior Evan Forcey shares how the show impacts teenagers and impacted him when he expresses, “This show is so impactful to teenagers because it connects with present issues that young adults and teenagers of our age deal with on a daily basis. It impacted me greatly because it showed me how quickly a simple lie or story can spiral out of control, having great consequences. I deal with living a lie in my everyday life with people around me who I can’t be honest with, just like Evan Hansen in the show.” This quote from Evan reveals just how deeply the show impacted the students in such individual ways. It shows how the arts invites emotional vulnerability and embraces it.

Every theatrical performance impacts an audience in some way, whether that is through humor, heartbreak, romance, or unity. Emma Quick, a senior, notices how Dear Evan Hansen represents the purpose of the arts, stating, “Dear Evan Hansen the Musical completely brings emotions and self-connection like some common purpose of ‘the arts’, as in theatre, music, etc. Dear Evan Hansen is something that can connect to someone in some way in the audience. It brings out emotions in everyone. It provides obvious entertainment but brings out our emotional sides.”

The arts in Pittsburgh bring people together in masses every time the curtains part. Getting to share that connection is what the arts are made for. If you or someone you know wants to have the opportunity of exploring the arts in our area with your friends and other students, it is encouraged that you take Mr. Switala’s Theatre Arts and Advanced Theatre Arts elective next year. Mr. Switala is excited to give these students the opportunity to experience performance arts every year moving forward.