Drama Students Prepare For “Breaking Our Silence”

by Nora Delehanty

It has been more than two years since Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) has held the annual Sophomore drama production of “The Names That Hurt,” a show that features a series of personalized monologues and scenes written by students, that highlight the struggles of bullying, mental health, and social justice issues. Last year’s production was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that was not the only change. Now known as “Breaking Our Silence,” the class of 2024 drama department is currently in preparation for an April 13th, production where they will perform for the school community and welcomed guests. 

For years, FSSA drama sophomores performed “The Names That Hurt” in different iterations with new content written by students. So, why the name change? Is the show different?

“I chose to change the name because the name didn’t make sense anymore. We stopped talking about bullying exclusively, and started talking about things that had nothing to do with name calling, so it didn’t seem appropriate. Changing the title made it inclusive to all those different things,” explains director and FSSA drama teacher Mr. Cacciola-Price (CP).

No matter what the title is, this show has always made an impact on our school community. Having to share such vulnerability to their peers is a very brave thing to do for a high school student.

These actors have been rehearsing for the long awaited performance since September 2021. After having had the show dates pushed back due to the Omicron variant in December 2021, many wonder how Mr. CP guides students through the work.

“We allow students the opportunity to come up with pieces that are personal to them. It starts in journal form and then monologue form and they know that eventually they’re going to have to share with the class, also in that process there’s an element of trust and community building,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. CP also explains how this years’ process was more challenging since many Sophomore students had never met each other in person before, so having to open up to each other took a bit longer than in previous years.

“It was scary at first because the whole process is sharing things that you’ve never really shared with anyone before, and it’s really weird to be opening up to that many people, or at least for me. But I think I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was at the start,” says sophomore drama student, Daniel Stowe.

After not having had this production in so long, it will be beneficial for the FSSA community to come together and see this work, as it helps people realize that they are not alone.

“Even though we’re all so young, we’ve all experienced something unfortunate in our lives, so it’s okay to be going through this because in the end we’ve all experienced something. We’re in a society where pretty bad things happen to us at a young age,” Lily Resto-Solano, sophomore drama student says.

There are natural challenges that arise in putting together an authentic show, but it was very difficult to have the constant rescheduling of performance dates.

“This idea of constantly having to relive trauma is not pleasant for anybody. For them to have now run it since November till now, that’s excessive. And I think some of them have had to sort of mentally detach themselves from it so that it’s not something they have to carry with them all the time,” Mr. CP said.

Finally, as the school community awaits the premiere of “Breaking Our Silence,” the idea of community building, and speaking truth to important issues has always been impactful to audiences. And after many months of hard work, the sophomore drama studio has many hopes for the outcome of their performance.

“I hope that audience members might see themselves on stage somewhere and sort of connect with it and realize that their experience isn’t an isolated experience, and maybe find some comfort in that. Through performing and having conversations about these things it’s been therapeutic for the cast in some way,” Mr. CP said.