Student Writes Play to Speak Out against Capital Punishment
When Lindsay Mecca, a student from Stamford, Connecticut, decided to speak out against capital punishment, she could have written a letter to the editor or composed an article for her high school newspaper. Instead, she wrote a play, The Nearly Departed. "This project taught me that finding a creative way to express a controversial opinion can attract more followers and is more effective than harassing people to change their views."
In writing the play, Lindsay had a number of goals: "I hope the issues addressed in my play will inspire the audience to discuss the injustice of capital punishment. I hope to contribute to the fight to abolish capital punishment. The most realistic and effective method for me at this time is to express my views on the issue in a way that allows the audience to listen to and think about other perspectives, regardless of their personal beliefs."
To write her play, Lindsay did extensive research on capital punishment in magazines, newspapers, and other publications and through the Internet. She made a detailed outline of the issues she wanted to highlight. She even created an independent study, which allowed her to earn credit for writing the play. After completing the writing, she submitted it to several faculty members for their review. She sent the play to Meryl Streep and to the Young Connecticut Playwright's Festival, which selected the play to be given a professionally staged reading.
In her search for a broader audience, Lindsay tenaciously submitted her play to as many venues and people as necessary. She recognized that the power of her work would remain untapped unless she got it into the hands and minds of as many people as possible. "The most important leadership skill I honed in relation to this project is networking. I contacted individuals that I believed would be interested in the issue of capital punishment and had them refer me to other individuals and organizations that might be able to help me complete my action project."