What is REACH?
REACH is a powerfully moving one-act play performed by a cast of high school students, focusing on the tumultuous and often hidden lives of modern teenagers in and out of school.
REACH was created by two teachers at a central Pennsylvania high school, Benjamin Hodge and Nicholas Curry, based on the often heart-breaking real-life stories of their students. As high school teachers, they saw every day the shame and isolation their students felt when struggling to cope with issues that ironically were not isolated, and did not warrant shame or embarrassment—issues like child abuse, dating violence, bullying, depression, prejudice, and violence.
Ben and Nick aspired both to unite their students in recognizing that they were not alone, and to inspire conversation among students, teachers, administrators, and parents about the complex and turbulent private lives of teens and the importance of recognizing and valuing each person’s uniqueness while fostering connection and compassion.
The play is divided into several vignettes and monologues united in the underlying theme of our basic human need for connection. The plot centers around Mary, a young student who serves as the observer and guide through the other young people’s lives. Mary and the other characters tell their stories of prejudice, disrespect, abuse, despair, inaction and action throughout the performance. Their stories, although unique to each character, intertwine and flow together, as Mary continues to notice that things aren’t always as they seem. As the play progresses, a strong call to “stand up and REACH out to others” surfaces. The play’s climax centers on what happens when people put their differences aside to reach out for help, for connection to others, and tragically what happens when reaching out does not occur.
REACH partners with ACCESS-York and Victim Assistance Center of YWCA York so that trained counselors, advocates, and educators can be available during and after the performance to address issues of self-disclosure, triggering of former trauma, or the audience’s desire to establish group counseling or other resources for affected students and communities.
The one-act play runs about 75 minutes. The REACH cast, crew, and creators are eager to bring their play to your community theatre, church, youth group, business, school, or other facility through either a full-length DVD or an inspiring live performance followed by group discussions. REACH has performed at the Dramatists Guild and the Players Theatre in New York City, Penn State, Strand-Capitol Theatre, YLT, and most recently at the National Federation of Families Conference in Washington, DC.
To see a piece by the York Dispatch featuring the REACH creators and cast, click HERE
Benjamin Hodge, REACH co-creator (717)574-7870
Nicholas Curry , REACH co- creator (717)649-4264
Nicole Lindemyer, Community Education Director YWCA York, 717-434-1746