By Linda Daugherty.
Cast: 10w. (9w. with doubling). "I'm going to tell you a secret—and I don't want you to tell. The secret is about me—about my life—how it will never be the same again." In this honest and unflinching dramatization of teen-girl angst, a window is opened into the tumultuous and destructive world of girls' bullying. Abby seeks to gain acceptance as the newest member of the school championship volleyball team. As she and her teammates struggle to find a friend, a place in the group and themselves, their jockeying for position is sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking. Invitations are extended or withheld, individual friendships sacrificed to collective judgments, and alliances formed and changed daily as they careen from exclusion to isolation to acceptance and back again. Bullying in the form of gossiping, keeping secrets, using friendship as a weapon, name-calling, exclusion, spreading rumors, backbiting, clinging to cliques and manipulation become a prelude to dangerous behaviors such as depression, cutting, eating disorders, and premature sexuality. The adults in the girls' lives are either unable or unwilling to change their behaviors. Though desperately concerned, Abby's mother is unable to make contact with her daughter, while the volleyball coach and team mom enable rather than work to effect change. When faced with the consequences of their actions, the girls ultimately resolve—one by one—to change their behaviors. Based upon interviews with girls on the giving and receiving end of bullying, the play highlights the impact of "cyberbullying," the facilitation of mean-spirited behaviors through the use of cell phones, text and instant messaging, e-mail and chat rooms. The portrayal of the sobering reality of these girls' lives can start a conversation in homes, schools and communities, providing the opportunity to reveal the secrets and address the complexities which dominate the lives of many young women. Area staging. Approximate Running Time: 60 minutes.