PAS Teens See “Mean Girls” on Broadway

By Peri Dunn, student in the Rabbi Judah Nadich High School

A fun filled “fetch” day is never to be forgotten, especially if it involves “Mean Girls.” On Sunday, April 29, PAS teens took a memorable trip to Broadway. From reminiscing about our favorite movie lines to analyzing the opening song lyrics while stuffing ourselves with Baked by Melissa cupcakes, we all had a great time.

Beyond the good laughs, there was a deeper and more sincere aspect to this experience. I think I speak for all in saying we often relate to Regina George in our diva moments. However, watching this Broadway show reminded me of another relatable feeling I believe we all have experienced. For those who do not know, “Mean Girls” tells the story of a teenage girl named Cady who has spent her entire life in Africa being home-schooled. When she moves to Chicago, she experiences a large wake-up call as she takes on a new type of jungle: high school. Cady befriends two outcasts who have a fiery passion for hate against the queen bee of their school, Regina George. As Cady and her two new friends become closer, they begin to devise a plot to take down Regina and her posse of two followers, by having Cady befriend them and then destroy them from inside their clique. But as every good high school movie goes, the once-innocent Cady becomes more and more like Regina as the two spend more time together. Eventually, she comes to realize the ridiculous mess high school is.

Most of the audience of this show are teenage girls, but the show conveys the vulnerability of being yourself to all ages. By having Cady as the main character, the audience is able to see the idiocy of high school’s unspoken rules, for Cady has never known these rules since she has always been home-schooled. Right away, the audience sees stupidity in the roles and stereotypes set for the characters. As Regina reigns as Alpha, we all cannot help but think, just get along already, it’s not that hard! Crazy enough, it is that hard. This show reflects the stakes of either being yourself and experiencing “social suicide” (as said in the show) or losing yourself while conforming to societal standards that could make you popular. This showed me that “just being yourself” is complex. It takes a sacrifice that can cause a loss of self-confidence when conforming to standards. At the same time, it shows that keeping your friends and not losing yourself in unspoken rules is more important in this decisive process.

Before attending the show, my friends and I did an exercise where something we may have experienced was read aloud, and if it had happened to us, we would step into the middle of the circle. As the game went on, the examples became more difficult, with questions such as, “have you or anyone you know experienced bullying?” Everyone stepped into the middle. This powerful example showed us how bullying is everywhere around us. Whether in high school with Regina George or just simply being a person in a world with social hierarchies, everyone may feel that being yourself will sometimes have expose you to consequences like bullying. With social media and pop culture trends becoming aspects of daily life, it is hard to escape the norms that these social hierarchies create. I may go as far as to say that Regina’s character represents the enforcement of society telling us to be a certain way. She is in some ways the nagging feeling in our brains telling us to be something else to fit others’ standards. However, by seeing high school through Cady’s fresh eyes, I recognized that in the end, it is worth being yourself because eventually it will lead to more happiness than being squeezed into a hierarchy.

This whole experience – the exercise, the show, the sharing with PAS friends – was pretty “grool” if you ask me!