Senior reaches goal, pens play before graduation

Senior Anna Vaughn Stewart always hoped to write a play before she graduated. She has recently accomplished that goal. Anna wrote a play based on a series of vignettes about a boy named Alex.

Alex struggles with depression and the play focuses on the complexity of mental illnesses. The play follows Alex’s best friend, brother, coworker, teacher and neighbor and reveals how his mental illness affected them and how they responded to it.

In the end, Alex is given the chance to change his actions giving the play a more hopeful ending. Anna explained, “I felt so frustrated and so hopeless when everything happened last year; I wanted to do something to not feel that way anymore. I wanted to give our school a way to cope. I feel theatre reaches people in a very special place because its live and real and raw. I thought a one act play would be the best way to not only show people ways they can help people who are suffering from depression, but also allow WAHS to engage in a kind of coping exercise.”

The show raised $4,176.89 and Vaughn Stewart donated all the proceeds to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is the largest donation the Lycoming chapter has received.

Many of the actors in the show shared how hard and draining it was to portray this topic.

Junior Mercedes Rothwell said, “I think I needed this to happen along with other people. It reaches out to people in ways word simply can’t.”

Senior Hailey Robbins explained, “To learn about suicide and accurately get the message across in a way that relates to the audience was taxing. We wanted to break stereotypes and the stigmas that come along with them.” Robbins went on to explain that despite being emotionally draining, there was lots of good that came out of the process. “To see people so affected by the show was unbelievable. I’m beyond honored to be a part of a show that contributed so much good.” Devin Swartz agreed.

“The show made me feel good. It made me realize I can let people know I’m here, whether they need someone to listen to them or just give them advice.” Freshman Sloan Wood said, ” It really opened my eyes to how words can affect people and how just one conversation can make a difference. It taught me I can help make a change in people’s lives.”

This page was created by Billtown Banner students at Williamsport Area High School