Port Henry On Common Ground, a group of Moriah Central School students, is tackling teen issues through acting.
“Adults can spend hours lecturing teens and may not be heard,” said Melissa Reilly, a Moriah teacher and the group’s director. “However, when peers deliver information to other peers, the message is heard and the impact is great. The mission statement of On Common Ground is to create a vibrant teen theater troupe that reaches the youth in the North Country through original theater productions that address current teen social concerns/issues.“
On Common Ground works with The Prevention Team, a Ticonderoga-based non-profit agency offering drug education and mental health services.
The group formed in 2009. It’s first production, “I Don’t Have a Problem!”, addressed problem gambling and was presented at Moriah, Crown Point, Westport, Keene, Newcomb, Ticonderoga and Elizabethtown-Lewis schools.
Last year the Moriah students won an “I Stand Against Bullying Award” presented by Safe Schools, Healthy Students for a video production on bullying.
Moriah’s original video showed the dangers of bullying and how it can lead the victim to self-harm and even suicide. The video can been seen online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTqjCmwaFTg
This year a grant from state Sen. Betty Little is allowing a new production, “A Change of Heart.” The play was written by On Common Ground members.
“This year, Essex County received a grant from Sen. Little’s office to help address the issues of suicide and bullying,” Reilly said. “Some of the grant funds were used to send On Common Ground to Silver Bay conference center to develop a new skit dealing with these issues. The result was even better than expected with an amazing, completed skit and even a poem written by one of the characters in the skit.”
The play will premiere Oct. 17 at Moriah Central School at 7 p.m. It will be performed again Oct. 22 at Lake Placid Central School and Nov. 6 at the Northern Tier Providers Conference in Lake Placid. It will also be performed at area schools. Following each performance actors take part in a question-and-answer sessions, in character.