In times of heart-wrenching grief and personal loss, it’s good to know you’re not alone.
That’s the reassuring message of the play, Holding On, written by 17-year-old Megan Rubeniuk of Chilliwack.
The play has earned a place in the provincial spotlight of high school drama.
Rubeniuk, a Grade 12 student at G.W. Graham middle-secondary school, will be performing the play at the Sears B.C. Drama Festival at Douglas College in New West, April 30-May 2.
Holding On tells the story of a teenaged boy who is devastated after his girlfriend dies, and paints the emotional aftermath of that sudden loss. The young woman, Morgan actually comes back as a ghost to help her friends and family deal with the terrible grief in the wake of her death.
The play was entered into the contest, and qualified for the ABCDE provincial drama showcase.
“I was astounded to find that I’d won,” she said about learning the news in an email.
“I stood up, and said to the people around me, ‘Guys, I won.’
Then she zipped into the theatre to tell drama coach and teacher Damon Fultz the news, even though he was in the middle of a lighting demonstration.
“It was like a really big deal. I was freaking out,” she remembered.
The script was written by Rubeniuk in about four days, and it has a cast of 11 characters.
The “prestigious” win for Holding On is a first for the drama department at G.W. Graham, said Drama teacher Damon Fultz.
“It’s also really cool to know there were 200 plays entered and hers was one of the three picked by playwright John Lazarus,” he said.
It has an underlying message about mortality and dealing with loss, with “very beautiful moments, and some that are very funny,” Fultz said. “This is a very personal story and it touches on the impact that one person can have on other people’s lives.”
The play is both a ghost story and a love story.
“It’s about dealing with grief and coping with the loss, even though it might be all you know,” says Rubeniuk.
The friend who is left behind finds out he can still see and talk to his friend, Morgan. She finds a way to release her hold on her friend, so he can let go with love.
“I love writing. It’s a huge hobby,” she said.
Sounds like a heavy topic. Why did she pick such a dark topic?
“I know that we all struggle with loss. It’s bound to happen in a lifetime,” she replies. “I just think it’s good to know you’re not alone.”
The three winning plays of the 2015 YouthWrite competition: Holding On by Megan Rubeniuk, Paul and Carla’s Road Trip by Josie Aileen Patterson, and Sat Sri Akal India by Sawkshi Sharma.