URBANA — A play described as a combination of children’s author Judy Blume and the movie “Rambo” opens at the Station Theatre in Urbana tomorrow night, Oct. 26.
“WROL (Without Rule of Law)” by Michaela Jeffery focuses on a group of eighth-grade girls who have lost trust that adults know how to run the world. The dark comedy follows the preteens as they prepare for what they feel is an inevitable implosion of society as they know it.
The play shows that young people are far more aware of societal and political issues than many adults realize, said 17-year-old cast member Eve Foley.
“They’re thinking about once this all collapses so that they can start over in a sense,” Foley said. “It’s an interesting take on how people cope with the reality that we’re given as young people and the responsibility that we take on.”
“I feel like our generation specifically cares a lot about issues that older generations have kind of put to the side, I would say,” Suhani Garg, another cast member, said. “And so we’re all very conscious because, with social media and everything, we’re all seeing constantly what’s happening around the world.”
“The show expresses the anger many young people feel that their concerns about things like climate change and civil rights are going unheard.” said Garg, “These girls in this play, they feel just so frustrated that these people have had all these tools to make things right, and they’re just not.”
“And young people all over the world are talking about the issues that are happening, and no one’s listening,” Garg added.
The chance to hear from young actors and characters is part of why director Jaclyn Loewenstein said she picked the play in the first place.
“It felt so relevant and timely and a chance to gain insights from young people’s minds,” Loewenstein said. “I’m a mom of a college student and a recent college graduate. So I certainly have heard the way they talk over their lives and how aware they are of how messed up the world is.”
Foley said she admires the middle school doomsday preppers’ determination to bring about change, even if their approach is intense.
“I think the girls in the show are a little bit extreme,” Foley said. “I also admire how they take action when they see an issue and how they, in a sense, are playing their part in improving the world that we live in.”
For Garg, she hopes that viewers leave the show with a willingness to listen to everyone’s concerns.
“Listening to people when they talk — it’s a really important thing, no matter their age,” Garg said. “Don’t dismiss them just because they’re 12. Or just because they’re 80.”
“Hear them out because they have a different perspective than you do, and it’s probably important,” Garg added.