February 20, 2015
By Rachel Rogol

Grow Up
Four student actors embrace during a rehearsal for "Grow Up, Already!"

Living with roommates, choosing classes, forming new friendships, studying for exams—these are things you might expect to see in a play about student life in a college setting. But Grow Up, Already!—a senior honors project by Valerie Rodriguez ’15—dives deeper, tackling harder themes, including mental health, issues of identity, suicide and more.

Grow up, Already! follows five college students trying to find their way into adulthood over five years,  from their first day of freshman year to after graduating. Through their monologues and conversations, the audience learns more about each of them than any of them really know about each other. The story centers on Jayla, a young woman haunted by her deadbeat dad, whom only she hears and sees. Questioning her sanity, Jayla is forced to deal with her father as they both face their individual needs for maturity.

Valerie Rodriguez 15
Valerie Rodriguez '15

Though it’s not directly based on her four years as a student at Amherst, Rodriguez says the play is, in part, influenced by real experiences. She says she aims to portray different people from different backgrounds struggling with the same insecurities. Her characters reference common notions, like “knowing yourself,” “having it all” and “coming into your own.”

And though they form deep connections to one another, in the end, their collective realization might be that no matter how close you think you are, you can never really know what’s going on with someone else.

Grow Up, Already! runs Thursday–Saturday, Feb. 19–21, in Amherst’s Holden Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Call the box office at 413-542-2277.