(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons)
Hollywood-wannabe Star (played by Jessica Hesson) is the ultimate Beatles fan. Her dreams are complicated by cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease which often assures a young death. Star is a frequent resident at the facility for seriously and terminally ill young people.
She spends most of her time in the hospital, and uses her imagination to confront her fate.
Cheerleader Courtney (played by Alexi Gochee) is Star's polar opposite in every way, but a bout with rheumatic fever lands her in Heart House as Star's roommate. As the play unfolds, the two girls form a friendship which would not have happened in any other set of circumstances.
"This play deals with extremely mature issues, but I know kids this age deal with these kinds of issues all the time," said Jasen Richardson, student sponsor, who co-directs with Monica Gaines. "It is hard being a teenager. Nobody knows where he or she fits in, and everybody this age is scrambling to find out who he or she is."
The comedy is an award-winning adaptation of the book "Good-bye, Best Friend" by Cherie Bennett.
"These kids put in a lot of hard work, and a lot them have really gotten a hold of their character," said Richardson.
In addition to Hesson and Gochee, the cast includes Sydney Gregory, Brooke Adams, Joel Powell, Colton Hargrove, Lexie Bennett, Brianna Lewis, Bradley Adcock, Rebecca Bobo, Gracie Miles, Carlie Molnar, Amber Molder and Ashlea Honea.
Crew members include students Amber Molder, Ashlea Honea, Trey Levy, Ethan Huskey, Dawson Gochee, Tyler Denny, Melissa Lambert and Davie Barnes.
Richardson hopes guests of the production can take something positive away from the experience.
"I appreciate the John Lennon connection because he was an extraordinary advocate for love and peace," Richardson said. "As a matter of fact, that is why I previewed this play in the first place.
"It is not really about John Lennon, but the messages of the play ring true to what he tried to accomplish while he was on this earth. We all need to step back every once and awhile and realize that love and understanding is the answer to most of the problems this world faces."
Public performances of "John Lennon and Me" will be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Community Middle School auditorium. Admission is $2.