Seventh graders from the Middle Division (MD) Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) travelled to see a matinee performance of ‘Be More Chill’ at the Lyceum Theater on Wednesday.
‘Be More Chill’ is a recently opened science-fiction Broadway musical set in an American high school. It tells the story of Jeremy, a bullied and neurotic 10th grader, and his experiences with the ‘Squip,’ an injectable supercomputer that tells teenagers how to act properly. The show strongly relates to LGBTQ+ issues, as it features a bisexual secondary character’s struggle with his sexuality. A supporting character, Sam, is subjected to accusations and name-calling due to rumors that he is gay, showing the negative effects that society’s stereotypes of the LGBTQ+ community can have even on those not part of the community.
However, the club is not exclusively interested in the show’s LGBTQ+ subthemes, James Brink, a co-advisor of the MD GSA, said. “It’s a show about inclusion, acceptance, and being who you are,” he said.
“The GSA chose it because it captures a universal feeling of being marginalized and wanting to be seen and heard,” said John Gentile, the co-director of the Office for Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity (ICIE) and a co-advisor of the GSA. Four students attended the show.
“I’m very excited to see ‘Be More Chill.’ I think it’s an interesting concept and a show that many schools wouldn’t take kids to,” Bob*, a 7th grade member of the MD GSA, said before he left.
There is also a chance that the entire 8th grade could see ‘Be More Chill’ in the next school year as a grade-wide activity, Cornelia*, another seventh grader who saw the show, said.
Despite being a relatively new club, the MD GSA has helped many kids navigate the complicated experiences of middle school.
The GSA was founded in 2016 by the ICIE, Gentile said. “We saw a need to create a space for students who identified as LGBTQ+ and their allies to come together to build a support network and increase their capacity for self-awareness, resiliency, and positive identity development,” he said.
However, the club is not only limited to kids who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and does not only deal with LGBTQ-+ issues, said the group’s participants and co-advisors. “GSA is a safe place where you can come when you need to get stuff off your chest. It’s somewhere where you can talk about anything that you might not want to talk about with your friends for whatever reason,” Cornelia said.
All in all, the Middle Division GSA improves the experiences of those in the often confusing and difficult transition that is middle school, and the trip to see ‘Be More Chill’ is a part of that mission, Cornelia said.
“The club help[s] us navigate middle school, which is sometimes really hard. I’m really happy that we’re seeing the show,” Bob said.