The Last Dance

Jenny Chen, Student Contributor

Two high school seniors in the International Baccalaureate Program at Robinson High School sat at the library with pens in hand and minds fast at work. Ariana Figueroa (’13), a frequent playwright, began to describe her ideas for a play about Progeria to Jenny Chen (’13), an experienced musical actress. Progeria is a rare disease that causes the rapid aging of children since they were born, with most of them dying from heart attack or stroke by the age of 13. As Figueroa tells Chen of the pain children with Progeria face, both friends became thoroughly committed to raising awareness for the fatal disease. The playwrights tossed around ideas, developed the plot and created believable characters to convey the play’s theme.

Trinity Jones, starred by Laura Verkyk (’13) and Jocelyn Barrera (‘16), the main character of the play, was an aspiring ballerina who found herself living with her stepmother, enacted by Marissa Rogers (’15), after her father passed away. She was confused and downcast as she tried to figure out her plans for college and for her future. Although she dreamed of being a dancer, she is afraid to fail. When Brooke Clark, starred by Breanna Michaels (‘16), a young and optimistic child with Progeria, came into her life, Trinity began to see the importance of love and family. At first, Trinity was afraid to get close to Brooke because she did not want to see her die like Trinity’s father and sister did. But with a little help from her deceased sister, Hope Jones (Liana Lemus), Trinity realizes that she must love Brooke just as she loved her father and sister.

Putting together a full production play had involved the efforts of the entire school, from the administration, to the teachers, to every student who had helped raise awareness for Progeria. Robinson High School drama teacher and the sponsor of The Final Dance expressed her delight with making the play come to life. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this [using drama to serve her community],” Sarah Fritch stated. The directors felt blessed with the wonderful cast composed of Robinson students. Some of the actors were novice performers while others were veterans of the stage. Chen and Figueroa remember the sense of awe they felt when they saw the characters they had envisioned come to life during the first day of rehearsal.This experience has taught the cast members that no idea is too big to make a reality.