CARMEL VALLEY — Playing in “Ruthless! The Musical” at the Coronado Playhouse, Carmel Valley resident Chase Anichini beams with self-confidence. She tap dances on a coffee table, belts with the voice of someone twice her age and performs an acrobatics routine with effortless grace.To watch her on stage, you would never guess that Anichini has been the target of emotional bullying. For more than two years, she dealt with children who constantly picked on her, called her names and told her that nobody liked her. How is it possible to rise above bullying and go on to write a book on how to stop bullying and star in a play?“I decided not to give in,” said the young actress/author. “There was no way I was going to allow those bullies to win.”
With her parents’ help, Anichini developed a strategy for dealing with bullies: by following three simple steps, she turned her encounters with bullies into a game. What happened next was the bullies got bored and left her alone. Anichini named her game, “Baffle That Bully!” She and her mother co-wrote a book to teach other children how to play. “Baffle That Bully!” is a way of maintaining your cool while distracting bullies, throwing them off their game, and putting them in a game where you make the rules. The result: bullies decide for themselves to leave you alone, because it’s no longer fun to pick on you. The book can be found at bafflethatbully.com/.
Anichini tells her story through the fictional character Scarlett Jones. Scarlett introduces three steps to playing “Baffle That Bully!” for your child to follow every single time someone is “mean” to him/her. Then she walks your child through several situations and explains how she applied the three steps to remain calm while throwing the bullies off of their well-rehearsed tactics.
Writing the book was a crucial component of the healing process for Anichini. By teaching other youngsters what she did to get rid of her bullies, she turned a negative experience into something positive. The process helped re-build her confidence and sense of self-worth.
Using her real-life experiences to play Tina Denmark to the full extent – both sweet and evil – is just another way that Anichini has turned her lemons into lemonade.
“Ruthless! The Musical” is playing through March 3 at the Coronado Playhouse, 1835 Strand Way in Coronado. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at CoronadoPlayhouse.com or by calling the Box Office at (619) 435-4856.