#BelieveInChange: West Boylston High School performs a play with a purpose

By: Courtney Rickert

WEST BOYLSTON, MA. On December 5th, 2014 and December 6th, 2014, West Boylston High School put on a production of Alan Haenhel’s award winning contemporary play “What I Want to Say But Never Will”.

The play was written based off of the results of Haenhel interviewing hundreds of high school students. In the interview, he asked the following three questions.

  1. What is something you want to say to someone?
  2. To Whom do you want to say it?
  3. Why do you think you never will?

And the results were eye-opening. Fights with parents, problems with teachers, the awkward “Birds and the bees” talk, to more serious problems such as bullying, anxiety, and depression.

The cast came together beautifully, using simple set pieces that featured an impression of each of the cast member’s handprints in paint.

“It was a symbol of how we came together as a cast” Senior cast member, Tyler Armey, explains.

When asked why she chose to do a revival of this show, which was previously performed at the same high school in 2010, director Carolyn Somma stated:

“This is a play with a real purpose. It gives students the opportunity to truly express themselves and brings light to issues that may go unnoticed or forgotten.”

The opening night of the show, Somma continued to share her message through the use of the hashtags #Takearisk #Believeinchange and #Webowiwts on Facebook.

Somma facebook

Continuing with the theme of student expression, Somma was able to really encompass the play’s purpose by including student musical performances throughout the show, in between the monologues written by Haehnel.

Annabelle Fournier 17’ sang “Not in the Way” by Sam Smith, Nick Irving 15’ did a rendition of “Lean on Me” on his ukulele, Mikaela Smith 15’ performed a dance routine she choreographed herself to the song “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift, and Dominic Scalera 16’ did a rendition of the song “Damn It” by Blink 182 on his electric guitar.

“Allowing the students to choose what songs they wanted to perform and in the way they wanted to perform them really proved to us how much Mrs. Somma believed in the message of this show.” Assistant director, Amanda Baldwin, 16’, stated.

The play ends, leaving the audience pondering the answers to many questions. When was the last time you took a risk? When was the last time you did something with a real purpose?

It also ended with a call to action: Do something. Say something. Be something. The play truly fulfills it’s purpose, to embody the self-expression of high school age students, as well as inspire it’s audience to not only #BelieveInChange, but also to #BeTheChange.

So now I ask you: What do you want to say, but know you never will? Who would you say it to? Why won’t you say it? When did you last #takearisk? What was the last thing you did that had a purpose?

Feel free to comment below. Also make sure to vote in our poll!

Featured image credit to Ken Cleveland.

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