The Echo

Inappropriate setting, time to represent school shooting

Park performs play about gun violence in a school

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Inappropriate setting, time to represent school shooting

Maria Perez-Barriga

This article has been changed Jan. 17 to correct errors. Echo apologizes for the mistakes.

Park’s selection for the winter play, “The Amish Project” is based on a true story about the aftermath of a school shooting, which is not to be taken lightly.  

2018 has the highest number of school shootings of any year on record, with a massive 82 recorded incidents, according to Campus Safety. With that amount of gun violence at schools in America, this is a sensitive issue with how many people might feel about the role of guns in the play.

Although it is considerate of theater to want to raise awareness about school shootings — which is not an easy topic to do a play about — the issue is very delicate and many people are likely not prepared to see it at a school. The play informs audience members of the aftermath of the school shooting.

According to The Washington Post, more than 219,000 students have experienced gun violence in school since 1999. The high numbers of students affected sadly shows how relevant the topic is in the United States. Watching this play might trigger students who have been impacted by gun violence and force them to relieve their trauma. The play should be considerate of the audience and should handle the representation in the right way.

Many Americans have been affected by gun violence, not just in schools. About 99.85 percent of Americans would know someone affected by gun violence, according to Health. Even for those who haven’t experienced gun violence, they would likely still find the play disturbing.

Considering the record amount of shootings in this year, performing such a play right now might not be good timing. To talk about a sensitive topic that has affected so many people should be done at a different setting or later on when the topic is not so delicate.

About 3 million children are affected by shootings each year and those children are often left traumatized, according to Every Town. With the large number of children affected by gun violence, the play could leave a significant mark for those affected by gun violence.

Some people might not be ready to watch a frightening portrayal of the reality going on in the United States right now. It’s important to discuss the issue of gun violence at school, but it’s too sensitive of a topic to be displayed to high schoolers.

The play will be performed Jan. 18-20. Tickets will be free, but you can donate money to different kinds of reliefs groups that are involved with helping people who were traumatized by gun violence.

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Inappropriate setting, time to represent school shooting”

  1. Phoebe McKinney on January 14th, 2019 10:20 pm

    I respect your passion and sensitivity toward this topic, but I invite you to come see the show before you make up your mind. The point is that it is an uncomfortable topic, but there is no better time than the present to acknowledge the issue of gun violence. The show was first performed in 2008, based on an event that took place in 2006, and we are performing it in 2019. I understand how terrifying it is that this text still resonates today, but ignoring the issue will never solve it. Also, spoilers, the play does not “show the shooting taking place”, there will not even be a gun onstage. The show focuses on how a community managed to heal after such a terrible event.

  2. Morganna Oberdorfer on January 14th, 2019 10:27 pm

    Did you even read the play? Some of the facts included about the play are inaccurate such as “it will show the shooting taking place” and “The play is centered around a shooting at an Amish school.” This show is actually centered around a shooting at an Amish schoolhouse, which doesn’t take away from the heartbreak and tragedy of the incident, but it makes it a more comfortable show to perform in a public high school, where the threats and safeties are much different. Along with that, when it is said that “Even for those who haven’t experienced gun violence, they would likely still find the play disturbing,” I would like to emphasize that that is one of the main points of this show, to raise awareness even if it causes people to be uncomfortable. I would invite you to come see the show or at least read the play before making any more accusations about our hard work.

  3. Estelle Tronson on January 14th, 2019 11:02 pm

    While it is true that, yes, this is a heavy topic, it is not something we are taking lightly at all. Hopefully, talking to someone in the cast or crew would have helped clear a bit up; we have done a lot to accommodate for the levity of the situation. We are making sure people know what the play is about and providing them with a little background before they see it. Also, the shooting itself is not depicted anywhere during the show and there will be no gun present onstage at all. The cast and crew are also hosting a discussion panel with the audience after each performance. The goal is to help people process what they saw and talk through it. We know this is a relevant subject and something very sensitive. But although difficult, it is important to talk about. It is something we should acknowledge while it is happening in order to help raise awareness and make a difference. Our director has wanted to do this play for a few years but felt the issue was too raw. Eventually it reaches a point where something must be done. I’m sure you agree that this is something we must address, especially as it is students our age affected the most by gun violence. There is not much we can do ourselves; we can’t pass any laws to keep our schools safe, but what we can do is speak out so that those who do have sway will hear us. This show is meant to start conversation over such a prevalent issue.

  4. Zoey Zachek on January 14th, 2019 11:15 pm

    I appreciate your support for our theater raising awareness about this topic, however, I politely disagree with many of the statements expressed. You mention that “the issue is very delicate and many people are likely not prepared to see it at a school…it’s too sensitive of a topic to be displayed to high schoolers”. My question is why should these issues be hushed in the schools that could very well be affected by said gun violence (you yourself mentioned the 82 school shootings in 2018 alone). We cannot rely on the adults or whoever else you expect to deal with these issues. Sure, this may be a delicate subject but in no way does this mean that we should just gloss over the topic and pretend it doesn’t exist. From reading this article, I think you would agree that gun violence is a very important problem that we should work to fix. How will this happen without an open discussion about it? You also mention that “The play should be considerate of the audience and should handle the representation in the right way”. A comment written in this fashion heavily implies that we have NOT done this and that we have inappropriately handled such a heavy topic. At the time of the post of this story, we have not had any public performances. You have not seen our production of this play and you may not know how we have handled this play differently from others. As you mentioned, tickets are free however audience members are highly encouraged to donate what they can. Every dollar shared will be donated because the idea of making a profit from such a story is just ethically incorrect. In addition to that, we will also be having a talkback session after every show so that audience members can get a chance to ask us more about how we dealt with the portrayal of such a heavy subject. I assure you that every person involved has deeply thought about the importance of this play and why it is a sensitive issue. I encourage you to come to see the show so you can truly understand why it is not an “inappropriate setting, time to represent [a] school shooting”.

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