Once and For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen

by Sami Bonilla and Adina Abercrombie 

Sami: For a play with such a long name, it’s really quite simple. 

Adina: Once and for All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen is a show about rebellion and misunderstanding. It is full of energy, excitement, and even confusion. Though this show only had a few words of dialogue, it still had a lot to say about teenagers and the issues that we face as we try to figure out who we are and where we are going. This show was a chance for teenagers to speak out without interruptions.

Sami: At first, I was confused about what was going on as the actors destroyed the set by writing on the floor, throwing cups around, and more. It was a disaster! I found myself thinking that these teenagers were nothing better then a pack of animals with their boundless energy. However, even though it looked destructive, it showed something else – that you can only set boundaries after personally finding out what they are, and that’s what these teenagers were doing.

Adina: The show explained that, as teenagers, we’re often called out of control, when we are really just trying to find ourselves. Telling a teenager not to make the same mistake you did isn’t going to stop them from making that mistake because they have to experience it for themselves. Teenagers are going to bend, break and try to change rules that can’t be bent, broken or changed.

Sami: Near the end of the play, one of the female actors says that you are free to tell her what to do, like giving her a curfew, but she will always come home after it. “And I will be piss drunk,” she comments, which made me laugh. She explains that it isn’t because you tell her not to, or because you have or haven't done it, but for the simple fact that she hasn't tried it yet.

Adina: The message to teenagers is that everyone has that point when you don’t know who you are or what you want, but do what you can to figure it out. Never hold back because holding back will make that process painful.

Sami: Once and For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen is not about teenagers being destructive and wanting to do bad things, instead it shows that teenagers are not meant to be stereotyped or called ignorant. I was able to connect to them because I know how it feels to be to told, “You're just a kid so you won't understand!”

Adina: There was a character who said it was hard for her to express herself, so she writes what she thinks about people on a post-it note and sticks it to them. This is someone I relate to because often times, when asked my opinion, I find it hard to say what I am thinking out loud. However, when I have my journal, I can express myself without a problem.  I believe it comes from my fear of judgment. No one likes to be judged, so often times, we don’t share our opinions.

Sami: I kept on thinking, “I could have been in this!"

Adina: I heard one teenage girl say “I’ve done that before,” and I heard another girl say, “Maybe my mom should come see this.” Once and For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen made me think, and when a show does that, it is successful.

HOW TO SEE THE SHOW: $25 tickets • The Duke on 42nd • 229 W. 42nd • Performances: Thursday, January 14 @ 7:30pm; Friday, January 15 @ 7:30pm; Saturday, January 16 @ 2pm; Saturday, January 16 @ 7:30pm; Sunday, January 17 @ 3pm

Editor's Note: All shows are currently sold out, but don't despair! Call 646-223-3010 for tickets other people cancel, or sign up for the wait list at the theatre 1 hour before the performance.