add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Be More Chill: A Relevant High School Tale - BANG.
Photo courtesy of Margaret Rankin (Boston College Dramatics Society)

Be More Chill: A Relevant High School Tale

As someone with a soft spot for high school coming-of-age movies, I was excited to see “Be More Chill.” The musical features a nerdy main character, a classic trope in many high school stories, but has a technological twist. I knew this was coming in, and I was eager to see this revamped trope mixed into a musical genre. As the lights dimmed, I sat in the audience, asking myself, “What does “Be More Chill” mean?”

The performance began with the main character, Jeremy, lying in bed and his theme song playing in the background. He sings, “C-c-c-come on, go, go!” to himself, trying to get out of bed to go to school for another day. Jeremy is an awkward, dorky junior in high school who is seen as an outcast in his school. The audience follows him to school and watches him pine over Christine, a theater girl. He ends up signing up for the school musical to spend more time with Christine, who does not romantically see him. However, he soon gets introduced to the idea of a supercomputer pill he can take, called “the Squip,” which will show him how to “be more chill” and get along in the social dynamic of high school. 

This is a familiar coming-of-age story, yet the musical and technological themes, like the Squip, keep the audience on their toes. Many shows about high school don’t feature a supercomputer character that dictates the main character’s social interactions! The Squip becomes personified as a character and guides Jeremy through interactions with his peers. Jeremy begins to be in more social situations as advised by his supercomputer, which means lots of fun, quick dance numbers with the entire ensemble, which are all peers in his high school. 

The musical was written by Joe Tracz and first performed in 2015, meaning the songs have many current references. The choreography of the dances also features modern references, such as flossing, a popular dance in the 2010s. These dances elicited laughs and cheers from the audience, keeping the mood light as we followed Jeremy along his journey. 

The BC Dramatics Society puts on two full productions every year, but the genre of the productions depends on the director. Director Alison MacDonald (‘24) chose “Be More Chill” for the comedy and musical aspects of the show. They wanted to show a “silly” musical and to have a fun, upbeat production. 

In addition to the production itself, casting the performance gave the production team a chance to put a BC spin on the cast. Jeremy’s best friend, Michael, is played by a woman, Ryann Johnson-Wojnicki (‘25). Co-stage manager Ella Neary (‘26) explains the choice, saying, “We didn’t go into casting expecting that, and she auditioned, and she was perfect for the part.” 

With her tenor voice, she perfectly belted out Michael’s songs, most notably “Michael in the Bathroom,” which is an anthem for theater kids everywhere. As a result of Squip’s coaching, Jeremy acts “too cool” for Michael and hangs out with other peers in their grade. So, Michael is alone in the bathroom at the biggest party of the year and sings about how they feel out of place. This song has become bigger than the show and is very popular in the musical theater community.    

The musical itself was filled with those silly themes MacDonald had wanted, but also had serious undertones in portions, like self-acceptance and complicated relationships with parents. Jeremy and his father have difficulties communicating, but this eventually gets resolved when his father decides to build a better relationship with his son and push himself to become more social as Jeremy does in his life. The Squip becomes the villain, manipulating Jermy to listen solely to him, but finally, Jeremy realizes the importance of being himself and defeats his Squip. He does this by drinking Mountain Drew Red, the ultimate cure, which is a clear version of the famous soda. This joke is one of the many quirks about the show and what made it so fun to watch as an audience member. 

Ending in true coming-of-age fashion, Jeremy gets the girl, moves past the Squip, gains friends, and the musical goes well. However, through the challenges of the musical, the audience roots for Jeremy, and all the characters, to find their true selves, not using technology or assistance. I came away from the show laughing to myself about the many jokes and references and with a new understanding of the idea of “Be More Chill.”

+ posts

Communication major, avid romcom watcher, and Whole Foods sandwich enthusiast.

Comments