POST: 'Dear Evan Hansen' - it can happen to anyone
What's it about?
Evan Hansen, a teen who has felt invisible his entire life, begins to gain attention when a letter he's written is found in the pocket of a student who committed suicide. From elaborate lies to terrible secrets, can Evan keep up with it all and at what cost?
What'd Mona experience?
Evan and his mother get into an argument, where he complains about his mother's lack of presence, something I related to. My mother is also a nurse, and growing up, I always got mad that she was never there. That she was always working and not spending time with me. I've spent a majority of my life getting angry at my parents for not doing things a certain way or not understanding certain things, always overlooking the fact that they were always trying their best. My parents did the best with what they had, and they weren't these super humans with all the answers. Becoming an adult, it couldn't be more clear. Adults aren't all put together as they seem or as I remember growing up. Adults are piecing life together and doing the best with what they have. Having grown up now, I understand that, and I appreciate my parents for all that they've done/will do. Parents don't always have the answer.
Evan eventually gets so much attention from his lies that he's in too deep to dig himself out, and this isn't your small white lie. This is some heavy, fucked up shit, which made me pissed he got a happy ending. He LIED, and for what? Because he was finally getting noticed? Why does this kid get to have a happy ending after hurting so many people? It makes me ponder the whole "why do bad things happen to good people" and vice versa.
While I was pissed at the guy, I couldn't help but relate to how he felt. In middle school, I felt invisible. Like I left no mark and didn't stand out. I just wanted to feel like I belonged and that I existed. Not to feel alone. To feel like there was someone, anyone to turn to and share memories with. Laughs with. Success and failures with. I wanted to be remembered. Not some distant memory that fades away, which was exactly how I felt. I wanted to leave a mark, something that said "I existed. I was loved and accepted...and I belonged."
"Suicide is the third leading cause of death in people ages 10-24. It's also the tenth leading cause of death in America, yet we still don't talk about it." Heavy words from the actor who played Connor, the teen who committed suicide.
While watching this play, I was disheartened by the fact that the character who committed suicide was your stereotypical gothic, rebellious, misunderstood guy. I thought it fed into the misconception that a certain type of person is associated with suicide or more likely to commit suicide compared to another group. As I continued watching, however, the play alludes to the main character attempting to commit suicide, the character considered a polar opposite to the stereotypical goth. The awkward, anti-social teen. It made me happy because it showed that it can happen to more than just the stereotype. To be honest, in middle school, I was suicidal and no one could tell. I was the happy, peppy girl who suffered in silence and seeing that they were showing more than just the stereotype made me happy. It felt like they were destroying, or at least clearing up, the misconception. To me, it showed that it can happen to anyone. To the stereotypical gothic, rebellious kid. To the awkward, anti-social teen. For me, the happy, peppy girl. To someone you know and love. To even you. It opens up the conversation not only on suicide but also the fact that it can effect virtually anyone. Suicide can effect anyone.
Help is out there, and you are never alone. This couldn't be more true, and if there's anything to take away from this article, it's just that. There will always be someone to lend a hand and hear you out. There are various hotlines and organizations dedicated to just that. An organization which is near and dear to me is To Write Love On Her Arms, whose mission is " dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery." They do amazing work and have an information page with tons of places to find help wherever you may be, so I'd definitely check them out. With that being said, I'd like to leave you with their beautifully worded vision.
The vision is that we actually believe these things:
You were created to love and be loved.
You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known.
You need to know your story is important, and you're part of a bigger story.
You need to know your life matters.
We live in a difficult world, a broken world. We believe everyone can relate to pain, all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know you're not alone in the places you feel stuck.
We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty, but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions—moments, and seasons, and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real and help is real.
Want to see it?
Sorry, this show is not currently showing.
But it is coming to Broadway fall 2016.