John Morello’s “Dirt” Touches Upperclassmen

Morello prefers emotional connection to preaching in his one-man show Dirt.

Graphic by Ryder Chasin. Photo contributed by

Morello prefers emotional connection to preaching in his one-man show “Dirt.”

Ellie Gavin, Staff Writer

No one knew what to expect on Tues. Dec. 4, when actor John Morello stepped on stage to begin his one-man show, “Dirt,” but by the time he was finished 80 minutes later, the junior and senior classes of Staples were in awe.

“Dirt” is the fictional story of five very different characters who are connected in ways they don’t fully realize—each affected by drugs and alcohol in some way.

Instead of preaching to students about the negative affects of substance abuse, the show presented students with possible consequences in an appealingly comedic way, while also maintaining thoughtfulness.

By the time Morello was finished with all five of his characters, to many students, it was impossible not to have connected with someone he portrayed, or something he said.

“I thought he was really relatable and funny and he really understood what we go through,” Sarah Rakin ’14 said.

The show was inspired by events in Morello’s life, including losing two brothers—one to a drunk driving accident and one to a heroin addiction. Morello said he doesn’t want to preach to students, but he wants to teach them about how their actions can affect themselves and others.

“I do not conduct a ‘scared straight’ type program nor do I believe fear works as a long term motivator. But I do believe that love and compassion can help a person be their best,” Morello said.