The Secret Life of Riley K

The Secret Life of Riley K. Riley K Cast


A Musical Treat About Mental Health

By: Jason P.


        On October 2nd, 2017, a performance crew came to Banting and Best Public School to put on a play called “The Secret Life of Riley K.” The purpose of this event, was to inform students about the benefits of having a good mental health, and ways to deal with stress and anxiety, at school and at home. The skit included catchy songs and choreographed dances for students to sing along and do hand movements together.

        They began to call down students from grades 4 through 8 at around 12:45 pm to the gymnasium for the performance. On the stage was a large black curtain, with a projecting screen. The act featured the story of a young girl named ‘Riley K.’, whose life was impacted due to having an anxiety disorder. Right before the play started, the director gave us some brief information about the skit, and introduced us to some of the crew. Then, the performance began with a round of applause from the audience. Everyone was thrilled!

        The act started off with Riley talking to her diary about how her life changed drastically after having a disorder, how she didn’t want to do the things she loved anymore, such as singing or dancing. As the skit proceeded, we got to see bits and pieces of Riley’s life. It included scenes at school when she faced humiliation from other students, even from her own principal! She also faced anxiety because she had to do a presentation in front of the whole school, talking about mental health. There were fun songs in between scenes, which students sang along to, and humorous scenes such as Riley’s grandfather dabbing while he sneezed!

        Soon came the big finale, the day of the presentation! Through encouragement from her family and her friend, Jamal’s assistance, she was able to inform her school about mental health with storytelling, a ukulele performance, and a dance! Finally, the play came to an end, and the actors provide us with facts about mental health. They also gave us some strategies to cope with or help someone who has them, such as comforting them or taking deep breaths. We even learned that the actor who played Riley K. actually had an anxiety disorder of her own!

        There were then opportunities to ask the crew some questions, and some of them were: “Did you compose the music yourself?”, and “How do you change costumes so quickly?” After firing out a round of questions, we thanked and applauded the crew for coming to our school. This was a meaningful experience for us, as we learned a lot about mental health, and ways to deal with anxiety and stress. We hope that we will receive more opportunities like this in the future!



Who Enjoys Musicals? We Do!

By: Connie C.


        This performance was totally unexpected for me and I enjoyed it. Before I went into the gym, I thought it was one of those powerpoint presentations about mental health but it was a play with people acting. All the acting felt so real and the person who played the role of Riley made the show very interesting as she was singing songs and dancing. There were only two actors yet I was still engaged in the play because there were many roles and instead of getting more actors to do them, the one male actor played all of them! I couldn’t believe he actually did 5 roles! There must’ve been lots of lines to memorize and lots of hard work put into it.

        First of all, I really liked the jokes, the music, and the dance moves. The music caught me off guard as I didn’t know that the songs were going to be like that. Most of the music was very upbeat, and in a few songs, they also had us, the audience sing with them. When the actor was practising Riley’s dance moves, it must’ve been hard as her moves were very fast and there were lots of dance moves to memorize. That made me very impressed. The jokes were hilarious as well. There was one joke where Riley saw an inappropriate word on a website and that made me laugh so hard as I figured out what word it was.

        Another thing I liked was the fact that they mixed a serious topic of mental health into a fun show where everyone can remember. Most of the time, people would do a speech or some kind of powerpoint presentation to tell you about mental health. In this performance, they incorporated some exciting things that younger kids would enjoy rather than sitting there looking at the clock, waiting for recess to begin. I’m sure that this was an easier way to tell kids about mental health so that they understand the seriousness of this topic, and know how everyone may experience it at some point in their lives.

        Overall, I think this was a great performance, as we were very lucky to be able to see this show and I look forward to more performances similar to this.