Archbishop Williams Students Take the Stage for its Fall Production

BRAINTREE, December 2012––The Archbishop Williams High School (AWHS) Theatre Ensemble recently featured three showings of its fall production, “HOME FRONT,” a heartfelt insight into the lives and families of American soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The play featured actual letters home from men and women serving overseas and was brought to life by a cast of 30 students and another 10 working backstage or in audio and video. 

Ms. Susan Picillo, Director of Drama at AWHS, directed the production, which she says was inspired by her desire to honor those men and women who dedicate themselves to our protection. "I chose to use my voice, my voice of freedom to be an advocate for these extraordinary men and women,” said Ms. Picillo. “I wanted to be certain that those voices of both the soldiers and their families who wait for their safe return were heard, and what better place to tell that story and bring truth and authenticity to light––the stage!”

HOME FRONT took six weeks of preparation, including the help of 40 students building the set during the weekends. To show its appreciation for armed forces, the AWHS Theatre Ensemble collected items and donations for soldiers during each performance.

“Every night after the show, people would come up to me and say that they were crying by the end and they were incredibly moved,” said junior Emily Tully of Weymouth who played Val, a soldier in Iraq. “It was amazing to see the effect of our performance and to know we sent a message to our audience.”

AWHS President Dennis M. Duggan Jr. Esq. ’70 and his wife Mary (Reidy) ’70 attended the show on Friday night and were very impressed. “Mary and I thoroughly enjoyed the production. It was topical, timely and relevant, beautifully performed and sensitively portrayed. The set video montage and music were all very well done. I could not have been more proud of the cast, crew and Ms. Picillo and her staff. Bravo!”

“Archbishop Williams has afforded me so many opportunities, and the one for which I am most grateful is the opportunity to be on the stage,” said junior Nick Neville of Braintree, who played soldier Ben Ronan. “I felt honored to give a voice to soldiers who seldom have one. By getting into the head of a soldier for the role, I learned more about family, solidarity, empathy and love.” 

“Freedom is not free. This play reminded me that American heroes pay freedom's price for us all, everyday,” said AWHS Principal Dr. Carmen Mariano ’64. “It also reminded me of how much talent we are blessed to have at our school. Our students were magnificent.”

Stage Manager Laurel Gozzo, a sophomore from Weymouth said, “Being backstage gave me such a different view of the production; I saw actors rehearsing their lines and saw how nervous they were, but how they overcame all fears and put on a great show.”

Ms. Picillo has been director of the AWHS Theatre Ensemble since 1997 and has directed, staged, and often written more than 30 shows. 

“I have been very fortunate to have worked with some extraordinarily talented individuals but more importantly, I am most interested in a student's desire to want to make a commitment and take that to its fruition,” said Ms. Picillo.

“Ms. P runs our program in such a way that everyone feels welcome,” said Nick Neville. “I've learned so much not only about staging and creating characters, but I've also learned so much about myself.”

The AWHS Theatre Ensemble will put on a spring production in March. “Everyone should come out to see our spring musical!” said Emily Tully. “It only gets better from here!”

Students of the HOME FRONT production include:

Maggie Archdeacon ’15 Weymouth, MA

Danielle Begley ’15 Weymouth, MA

Cameryn Bergman ’15 Braintree, MA

Lauren Carter ’15 Quincy, MA

Erin Crowley ’14 Weymouth, MA

Sam Dore ’15 Braintree, MA

Sarah Golden ’16 Quincy, MA

Rachel Igo ’14 Weymouth, MA

Hazley Jean-Baptiste ’13 Randolph, MA

Catalina Kirk ’13 Weymouth, MA

Erin Koehler ’14 Quincy, MA

Mark Leary ’16 Weymouth, MA

Carla Lormeus ’14 Randolph, MA

Olivia Mahidashti ’14 Stoughton, MA

Emma McDonnell ’14 Quincy, MA

Victoria McIntyre ’14 Abington, MA

Mayilee Mercedes ’14 Hyde Park, MA

Jenna Naughton ’16 Rockland, MA

Nick Neville ’14 Braintree, MA

Abby O’Connell ’13 Quincy, MA

Olivia Osgood ’14 Weymouth, MA

Claudelle Osias ’15 Holbrook, MA

Erika Pradieu ’14 Randolph, MA

Julia Pumphrey ’14 Weymouth, MA

Brianna Roy ’16 Braintree, MA

Perriklis Sarakiniotis ’13 Randolph, MA

Stephanie Stinfort ’13 Quincy, MA

Emily Tully ’14 Weymouth, MA

David West ’13 Holbrook, MA

Echo Yang ’14 


Stage Manager

Laurel Gozzo ’15 Weymouth, MA


Backstage Crew

Ashraf Blell ’14 Randolph, MA

Kylan Philbert-Richardson ’14 Randolph, MA


Lighting Engineer

Pat Lacey ’14 Weymouth, MA


Assistant Lighting Engineer

John Dunford ’14 Quincy, MA


Spotlight Engineers

Kerry Hanlon ’14 Quincy, MA

Bryan McMahon ’16 Quincy, MA


House Managers

Fiona Tully ’16 Weymouth, MA

Emily Fleming ’16 Weymouth, MA


Cast Photographer

Olivia Osgood ’14 Weymouth, MA