Raising Awareness: A Preview of Silence

By Megan Cohen and Breanna Shiflett

On March 8th and 9th, seniors John Allen and Brianna Meeks, juniors Logan Clem and Jenny Samios, and sophomore Kyle Ebbetts will be performing in Silence, a play that revolves around autism.

Silence, which was written and directed by senior Sean Phillips and junior Christian Jost, follows Will (played by Allen), a high school student with Asperger’s Syndrome, and his four friends. The play has four acts, each one corresponding to a year of Will’s high school career.

An ambitious project, the play certainly holds meaning and a lesson to be learned. “A lot of people don’t know about autism,” pointed out Samios. But Silence could also reach students on a personal level, as Samios mentioned, “It’s also a play about bullying in general, so many people can connect.”

Samios isn’t concerned about how the student body will react to the play, which involves what some might consider an uncomfortable subject. “[The play] doesn’t focus just on autism. It follows five friends who deal with average high school problems, so a lot of people will be able to relate,” she said.

Phillips and Jost started working on the play as a fundraiser for the Bright Life Initiative, an organization in which students learn alongside those with special needs.  “My friend and I took it on because it’s a great project for a great cause,” Phillips shared. All proceeds from the play will be going to the Initiative.

While the team enjoyed preparing for showtime, a large amount of research went into the project. “We had to do a lot of research…to create a character that had [Asperger’s Syndrome], to see how they act, feel, etc.,” recalled Phillips.

Like Samios, Phillips believes that students will react positively to the play, and he could very well be right. “I think it’s a great idea,” enthused Abby Yohannes, a sophomore. “I already know a lot about autism because I have younger cousins who are autistic, so I’ll definitely be able to relate.”

Ebbets is very much looking forward to the premiere of Silence, stating, “It’s about a lot more than myself, and even my fellow castmates. It’s about something that a lot of kids may not understand. I think students will like it—it’s a very relatable play.”

With everyone having worked so hard, hopefully things will pay off for these talented students. “I really hope people can take the time to come see Silence and support autism awareness,” said Ebbets.