Inspired by real-life student activism, Give ’em Hell retells the final school year leading up to the 2012 closure of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS) in Peterborough, Ontario.
Breaker starts Grade 10 only to discover that her high school will close at the end of the year. She is called to action by student activist group Raiders in Action, and encouraged to heed that call by an imagined version of political satirist Rick Mercer (who may or may not have something to do with her recently deceased grandma). Over the course of the school year, Breaker must overcome her fear of being a leader as she guides the student body through history-making protests. And save the place where she finally belongs–while discovering just who she is.
Give ’em Hell explores the power of youth activism, the perils of self-discovery and what it costs to stand up for a cause.
TEEN TRACK 1: BREAKER, PCVS student, female
TEEN TRACK 2: BODE, PCVS student (a.k.a. The Cat), female
TEEN TRACK 3: JACE, Breaker’s sibling/LESLIE, PCVS student, any gender
TEEN TRACK 4: MOBERLY, PCVS student, any gender
TEEN TRACK 5: LOU, PCVS student, any gender
TEEN TRACK 6: BAILEY, PCVS student/TORRI WITH A “D”, JACE’s classmate/friend, any gender
TEEN TRACK 7: ROO, PCVS student, any gender
TEEN TRACK 8: MAYZIE, PCVS student, any gender
ADULT TRACK 1: RICK MERCER, Breaker’s imagined version of Rick Mercer, male
ADULT TRACK 2: MOM/MS. RADLEY/RANDOM SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE/PASSERBY/ANOTHER PASSERBY/A WHOLE OTHER PASSERBY/AN OPPOSITION CRITIC, female
ADULT TRACK 3: CLIFFORD BARNEY/REPORTER/ANOTHER OPPOSITION CRITIC/IRL RICK MERCER/MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, male
Give 'em Hell was first produced in Peterborough, Ontario from September 15 to 23, 2023 by Theatre Direct, 4th Line Theatre, Prairie Fire, Please and Peterborough Museum and Archives.
The play can be accessed by contacting the author at firstname.lastname@example.org and will also be accessible through the Canadian Play Outlet.
With the exception of Breaker and Bode who are two roles for teenage girls, the gender of all teenage characters is flexible and the playwright open to adjusting pronouns (and thereby in some cases names) in order to align with the cast actor’s gender.
The playwright is open to discussion about the gender of the three adult characters, currently one role for women and two for men.
Breaker, Bode, Rick Mercer and Adult Track 3 are roles for 2SLGBTQIA+ as are up to all six remaining teenage characters and Adult Track 2.
References to and one instance of homophobia