Hazelwood Jr. High

Hazelwood Jr. High $10.99

Rob Urbinati

Published by Samuel French Inc

0 Male 6 Female

At first, Hazelwood Jr. High is like any other middle school - cliques and crushes, dances and detention

But when a new girl unwittingly steps into a "love triangle," a revenge plot is hatched, and events spin out of control, escalating into a shocking and unimaginable climax ...

Based on a true story.

"In this fierce, disturbing lament for the death of childhood, the characters hardly change - but the audience does

Six junior high school kids remain, through terrible events, suspended in a moral vacuum

We, however, move from open laughter to uncomfortable giggling to deep, dark silence

Though the play retains a deadpan documentary feel, withholding judgments and explanations until near the end, it is very much a dramatic artifice

Urbinati immerses us in the girls' world

He sweeps us into the warped logic by which a lunchroom tiff escalates into a dreadful crime, and this logic is stitched into dialogue where perspective and proportion are scarily absent

Urbinati creates a mental jungle in which vampires and cuddly toys, Pentecostal visions and Kmart are tangled together

Slowly, these juxtapositions lose their humor and become an angry, insistent protest at the failure of the adult world to provide these kids with a way through

This is deft and morally serious writing, never exploitative and ultimately full of pity. Everywhere, there is the kind of precision and care that such a subject demands" ~ Fintan O'Toole, New York Daily News

"Hazelwood Jr. High is a blistering piece of drama that's conceived and presented in cinematic terms

Its multiple scenes and locations flow into each other without a break, building a considerable I can't believe I'm watching this steam as Urbinati's story veers from puppydog romance toward brutal slaughter

The horror of it all is seriocomically underscored by the typical banalities of teen existence while songs by Mariah Carey and 1990's girl groups pulse through the air ...a wicked midnight ride with the rising generation, and definitely not a show for the squeamish" ~ Michael Sommers, New Jersey Star Ledger

"Mr Urbinati has written this in a combination of documentary and dramatic style, effectively capturing the banality, the provincialism and the simple mindedness of the girls and their cruelty

While he makes some gestures in the direction of psychological explanation, the overall effect - undoubtedly intentional - is the frightful ordinariness of these teenagers

Even as they stumble toward savagery, they play their boom boxes, eat at McDonald's, hang out at the mall and gossip about social life" ~ Martin Gottfried, New York Law Journal

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