Play at Radford High School on Jan. 17 to address teen depression and suicide
RADFORD – New River and Roanoke Valley actors and actresses will take the stage at Radford High School on Jan. 17 to present the Roanoke Children’s Theatre production of “Eric and Elliot” at 7 p.m.
Written by Dwayne Hartford, the play confronts a hot topic issue currently facing many teens and their families. Hartford’s “Eric and Elliot” won’t shy away from issues like teen depression and suicide.
Dante Piro, a 16-year-old junior at Radford High School who stars as “Elliot,” hopes the production plays a small part in helping teens and parents facilitate discussions about the issues in their own home.
“The potential for depression in teenagers is great, but those that are not as depressed can still deny that and still brush it off,” Piro said. “If you watch this play and really think about it, you can’t hide that.”
Piro’s mom, Lucinda McDermott, helped organize the production and raise money for funding.
“I understood the school system didn’t have the funding for it, but I knew I wouldn’t have a problem raising the money for it,” McDermott said. “I think it’s a message every parent needs.”
McDermott believes the play will be worth it even if only one child walks away impacted in some way.
“As a parent, the one thing I never want to have to say is I wish I had done that,” McDermott said. “There are times I’ve said things and thought, ‘That was hard.’ I really do believe knowledge is power.”
The play, McDermott said, is free and open to the public.
“Eric and Elliot” is suitable for sixth-grade students and older, she added.
At the conclusion of the play, mental health professionals from across the NRV will hold a “talk-back” session to answer questions audience members may have regarding the issues discussed in the play.
For more information about the play, visit the “Eric and Elliot at Radford High School” Facebook page.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627