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Station Middle School performs ‘Bully Plays’

<p>Tony Venetico (right) helped lead an anti-bullying campaign last year at Barrington High School. With the help of volunteers, the United Colors gay-straight alliance posted 600 signatures above the entrance&nbsp; to Barrington High School along with a linked chain made of cardboard rings with signatures. | Photo by Michael Sean Comerford.</p>

Tony Venetico (right) helped lead an anti-bullying campaign last year at Barrington High School. With the help of volunteers, the United Colors gay-straight alliance posted 600 signatures above the entrance  to Barrington High School along with a linked chain made of cardboard rings with signatures. | Photo by Michael Sean Comerford.

With bullying becoming an increasingly important issue at schools nationwide, many students of all ages are addressing it in different ways.

Last weekend, students at Station Middle School took the topic on stage, performing “The Bully Plays.”

A set of short plays that promote anti-bullying initiatives, “The Bully Plays” follows young people in various situations from dealing with a bully to the lasting effects that those who are bullied could suffer.

“The Bully Plays” examines playground bullying and cyber-bullying, among other forms.

“I wanted to be in ‘The Bully Plays’ because I moved here last year, and I didn’t want to get bullied,” said eighth-grader Andy Delatorre.

The plays ranged from silly to serious. “A Bunch of Clowns” featured a new kid at school, although school is a circus with a bully for a ringmaster.

“I joined this play because I thought it would be a great way to show that bullying isn’t cool,” said seventh-grader John Stieper.

Another short play, “Beasts,” takes place in ancient Rome and deals with a rumored beast who turns out not to be so tough.

The play “Gasp, Farrah, Monster” deals with adults who are still suffering from the lasting impact of being bullied as children.

“I think these plays are really good because we need to expose it to the community,” said eighth-grader Michael DelGado.

Several students said they joined the play because of past experiences they have had with bullying.

“Through sixth grade, I was bullied a lot, so I think this is a great way to show the community what is going on,” said eighth-grader Hana Smith.

“The Bully Plays” premiered Oct. 10 at Station to a cheering crowd.

“It’s been amazing to just expose everyone else in the school to what’s going on,” said eighth-grader Annika Steib.

“The Bully Plays” was produced by Woodstock-based Dramatic Publishing, a royalty company that Station licensed to perform 10 of the 24 plays in the collection.

“The kids can relate to it,” said technical director Brett Ehlman, who designed the set. “I think there are bully problems at every school. It’s just a matter of how you handle it.”

Drama teacher Amy Runyon said the plays, which feature about 40 students, are part of a bigger anti-bullying movement throughout District 220.

“We have a big anti-bullying initiative in our district this year,” she said, explaining that these performances tied into an anti-bullying assembly held at the school earlier this year.

Students who were in “The Bully Plays” said the performances were a fun way to get a serious message out to the school and the community.

“Dealing with this sort of issue is close to our hearts,” said eighth-grader Dillon Davey. “We hope it means a lot to the school.”

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