“The Bully Book” Provides Compelling Entertainment

Morgan Carpenter, Staff Writer

The premiere production of “The Bully Book,” was a moving, personally touching performance. The play, an adaption by Cassandra Kay Schulz, is based off the novel originally written by Eric Kahn Gale. Performed on Nov. 3 and 4 in the Black Box Theatre, it details the journey of 6th grade students who stumble upon a book that contains the secrets that guide the class bullies in their ruthless pursuit to rule the school.

Directed by Destini Fleming, the student cast effortlessly conveyed a genuine connection to the story. Watching the play was like being transported back to the 6th grade with an almost disconcerting level of authenticity. This rendition of the story is immensely relevant despite the play being aimed at a younger audience.

The cast made the story spring to life with a warm, earnest performance. It felt vivacious and familiar – everyone has at sometime felt like a ‘grunt,’ to some degree and the cast portrayed the feeling perfectly. It was impossible not to get wrapped up in the story and become totally attached to the outcome of each character whose lives the book had tainted.

The rapid transformation of main character Eric Haskins (Reilly Keith) throughout his experience with the book was entirely convincing. His performance flowed seamlessly through each scene with a bona fide finesse that transcended what most would expect from a high school production. The play leaves the audience in much the same way a “feel good movie” would, with a familiar, cathartic, sense of resolution.

A compelling tale packed with staccato bursts of heartstring tugging moments and laughable middle-school-style repartee, “The Bully Book” has something for everyone.