This year's Compositions includes stories of two girls (both Christian) who were cutters, two girls who had an eating disorder, growing up gay and more.
O'Roark believes that Shattered Silence is simply opening a "dialogue" between parent and child. He added, "What the kid could not put into words for the parent to understand — and what the parents could not comprehend because they never went though it — by doing this show, they actually figure out where those words are to talk to each other. One of the fascinating things is that I see people coming who are in the teenage range — because they [come to see] their friends — but then I see those kids come back in later shows that week, and they are bringing their parents. I can't tell you how many parents have told me, 'I came to see it with them,' and I guess it's starting a dialogue."
O'Roark admitted that most of the cast members aren't "actors," nor is he trying to push them in that direction. His only hope is that Project: Shattered Silence gives youngsters a newfound confidence. "I visually see the confidence," he said.
The benefit of breaking their silence, he said, is that students think, "Once I've let it go, and I can't hide it anymore, I'm in control, so if you make fun of me for my story, I don't really care anymore because I also know there are people who won't make fun of me for this story."
"They take ownership of their story," O'Roard added with pride.
Performances of Compositions are offered June 12-14 at 7:30 PM and June 14-15 at 2 PM at Ruth Eckerd Hall (1111 N. McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater, FL).
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(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael).
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