The content sparked some unstructured learning opportunities as well, leading to discussions on what it might have been like for a teen growing up in the '60s.
“They’re far removed from 1968, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that long ago," Williams said.
Judging from a roundtable discussion with students like Will Mombello, who plays Woof; Jordan Dunn-Pilz, who plays Berger; Daniel Alvarez Toledo, who plays Claude; and others, plenty of time during the last two months of rehearsals has been spent ruminating on the Vietnam draft\.
While some students, like sophomore Peter Blangiardi, said they would have been happy to enlist, Alvarez Toledo wasn’t so sure.
“The draft was a scary thing with the Vietnam War,” Alvarez Toledo said. “My character is on the verge of deciding whether he wants to go or doesn’t want to go. I think it’s interesting to explore a character like that.”
Dunn-Pilz added, “If that ever was to happen again, we’d end up seeing the same protests that there were in the '60s."
And freshman Emily Phelan said, “It’s our age group, I couldn’t imagine if I had a boyfriend or brother and thinking this might be my last hour with them.”
For sophomore Jenna Gallagher, performing the play and becoming so close to the characters whose lives were connected in many ways to the Vietnam War made her think more realistically about the conflict the U.S. is currently engaged in overseas.
“You learn about this in history class, but you don’t get all the behind-the-scenes things going on,” she said.
In the end, the students surmised that things aren’t so different today than they were in the '60s.
“We’re definitely in the midst of that Age of Aquarius still,” Dunn-Pilz said.
IF YOU GO
When: Today and tomorrow and again Dec. 6 through 8, all at 7 p.m.
Where: Newburyport High School, 241 High St.
How: $12 adults, $8 students and seniors. Email email@example.com for more.