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Morgan’s Mumbles: My Favorite Plays Part 2, by teen contributor Morgan Randall

Today as part of our ongoing series where we give teens a platform to share themselves with us teen contributor Morgan Randall shares more of her favorite plays. You can read part 1 here.

And People All Around by George Skylar

This story talks directly on racism and the white supremacy within the United States in the 1960s (and ultimately calls the audience to no longer stay complacent in the racism that is happening in the modern-day). It follows the story of Don Tindall in the small town of Leucadia, in the south. The Redeemers (a nod to the KKK) is a group that is very alive within this town, and that a majority of the authorities who run the town are apart of it. Don, is not, and he becomes really conflicted as a COFO Center is established in their town. He is outraged by the bigotry and hate but is unsure what to do for fear of his own life and comfort. It follows him as he grows close to the people that are at the COFO Center and begins to experience life with them. This story is based on real events, known as the Mississippi Burning and while not all the characters are the same as they were in real life there are a lot of parallels.

The Trojan Women by Euripides

This is a Greek Tragedy, that is well known it follows the women of Troy after the Trojan War. It talks about the challenges they face as they exist in their once homeland with the Greeks now occupying their home. Their husbands have been killed in the war and they are all being taken as slaves or to be forced, brides. It mainly follows the Queen and Princess as they try to cope with losing their family and nation, but also with the grief as they try to support and provide light to the other women.

Never The Sinner by John Logan

Never The Sinner is based on Leopold and Loeb, two men who kidnapped and killed a teenager named Bobby Franks in May of 1942. This story was all over the headlines as the two men were apprehended and tried for their crimes, and their sexual relationship was exposed to newspapers. This story depicts not only these two men living in a world where sexuality isn’t accepted but also deals with the concept of manipulation and how the two men’s ideas and thought impacted each others actions. 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth is one of the most well-known plays by William Shakespeare, it follows the story of a Scottish general who is told his destiny by three witches. His destiny tells of his future glory, and how he will become the King of Scotland. It shows how ambition blinds and consumes him, and greed and glory can completely change who a person is. The show follows Macbeth and how his actions impact his family, friends, and all of Scottland.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Another one of Shakespeare’s most well-known shows is Hamlet, a story that follows a prince whose Father recently passed away. His Mother re-married very quickly after, to his Uncle, and it is all having a very heavy toll on Hamlet’s psyche as he admired his Father very much. At the start of the show the King’s ghost is appearing, almost as if haunting Scottland, however it is revealed that he has come back to ask Hamlet for a favor. He needs Hamlet to avenge his death, so blinded by rage and revenge Hamlet begins his quest to kill his Uncle inorder to avenge his Father.

Graphic Novel Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

If you don’t have Eisner award winner Raina Telgemeier in your collection, you need to start.

Her newest work, Drama, brings us into the world of 7th grader Callie.  Deeply in love with the theater, Callie’s dream is to design sets for Broadway.  For now, however, she’ll settle for being on set crew for her school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, and is determined to bring Broadway to Eucalyptus Middle School.  And on budget.  Yet things get complicated on stage and off when romances develop, misunderstandings blow up out of proportion, and a last minute crisis threatens the entire production.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier, published by Graphix in 2012. ISBN: 9780545326995


Drama is engaging from the first pages, and readers are grabbed from the beginning by Callie’s sense of humor and a sense of immediacy that reads exactly how a seventh grader takes EVERYTHING in their world.  Lost in her unrequited romance with Greg, Callie throws herself into her first passion: the theater.  Determined to take Moon over Mississippi to Broadway level (including a working cannon), Callie meets twin brothers Justin and Jesse, who seem to be polar opposites in every way.  Yet, will Jesse be the love Callie wants in her life?  And will the play even go on with the drama threatening the production?  Great for middle ages and up, and could be paired with Telgemeier’s other graphic novel, Smile, or theater fiction like Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon, or Pink by Lili Wilkinson4.5 out of 5 stars.  Goodreads currently lists Drama at 3.97 stars out of 5 as of February 20, 2013.  Drama is a 2013 Stonewall Children’s Award Honor Book and a 2013 Rainbow List Top 10 Book.

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I LOVED Drama.  Working day in and day out with middle school kids, Callie, Jesse and Justin could have been *my* kids- that’s how believable they were.  They have their own quirks and foibles, their own ways of acting out and reacting to situations makes them more believable.  Telgemeier’s drawings are something that I could never hope to aspire to, and have that art that draws readers of all ages and all genders in- I had my personal copy on my desk at work, and within minutes had a 21 year old “new adult,” a 12 year old, an 8 year old, and a 16 year old all want to know when I was getting it for the library or whether they could borrow my copy so they could read it.  

The romantic back-and-forth between the characters is extremely real, and for me the fact that no one is doing drugs, alcohol, or anything remotely off-kilter (aside from some possible grade cheating) is really refreshing in a graphic novel.  No one has super powers, or is solving crimes- these are real tweens and teens going through real issues.  They may be a bit more high strung than most, but I’m not sure about that.

The storyline of Justin and Jesse hits home especially hard for GLBTQ readers- Justin is completely out to his parents and friends, but it’s not until near the end of the book that anyone even suspects that Jesse is gay as well.  No one, not even Callie (who has every right to be when he deserts her at the prom), ends up mad at Jesse by the end of the book- they accept him for who he is, which is the way it should be.  

As for Callie, she is what I wish I had been like in school- she is such a strong female character with a huge sense of self that she could be someone to look up to for middle school girls.  She knows what she wants to be when she grows up, she sticks to her guns when she knows she’s right, she accomplishes everything she sets out to accomplish, and she doesn’t let her relationships (up or down) diminish her confidence in her identity.  

You Might Also Like:

For more theater productions gone out of control, check out No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. And for more MG GNS, check out Cardboard by Doug Tennapel, Chickenhare by Chris Grine and Giants Beware by Rafael Rosado.