“COLUMBINUS” DRAMATIZES THE APRIL 1999 COLORADO SHOOTINGS AND TAKES AN UNCENSORED LOOK AT REAL STUDENTS’ LIVES
Necessary Dialogues Theatre Co. will present a youth-theater production of COLUMBINUS, a powerful play for mature audiences that dramatizes the April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School in unincorporated Jefferson County, near Denver and Littleton, CO, on Aug. 12-15 at Burning Coal Theatre at the Murphey School in the Oakwood Section of Raleigh, NC. Created by the United States Theatre Project and written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, COLUMBINUS had its first workshop production in December 2002 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.
After three more workshop productions (at Arena Stage and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at Curious Theatre in Denver), COLUMBINUS had its world premiere in March 2005 at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Then the show made its Off-Broadway debut on May 22, 2006 at the New York Theatre Workshop, where it closed on June 11, 2006. Nominated for the 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Director (PJ Paparelli), COLUMBINUS won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Sound Design (Martin Desjardins).
Raleigh Ensemble Players staged the Southeastern premiere COLUMBINUS in October 2007 at Artspace Gallery 2 in Raleigh
“Although [COLUMBINUS] is being performed in Burning Coal’s space,” says director Alex Tobey, “it is an independent project organized by a group of teen artists in Wake County who wanted this story to be told. Burning Coal has just been an unofficial and generous mentor during the process.”
Tobey adds, “This documentary drama … is a meeting of fact and fiction that illuminates the realities of adolescent culture by exploring events surrounding the April 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. The cast of local teenagers includes Jason Cooper, Meredith Davis, Caroline Jordan, Alejandro La Rosa, Victoria Oliver, Alec Shull, Jacob Stanton, and Logan T. Sutton. COLUMBINUS takes an uncensored look at the lives of real high school students, and contains strong language and mature situations.”
Burning Coal Theatre Company artistic director Jerome Davis says, “I have watched Alex Tobey grow over the last several years into a very thoughtful, very mature young man of, I think, 17. He is heading a project (COLUMBINUS) that requires great sensitivity and courage; and, from all I can tell by watching him work in our space over the last week, he is more than meeting the challenge.”
“I feel really good about the future of American theater,” says Davis, “when we are still capable of turning out young men and women who are interested in serious matters, who have an understanding that the world is in need of strong, thoughtful and, most importantly, selfless leaders, and who are willing to step up and create work, rather than just waiting for ‘the next audition.’ I imagine we’ll be seeing many big things from Alex and some of his cohorts in the years to come.”
In reviewing the Off-Broadway production of COLUMBINUS for THE VILLAGE VOICE, Michael Feingold wrote, “The moral, in a sense, is not that Columbine could have been prevented, but that we should be grateful, in a culture as sprawling and violence-ridden and misfocused as ours, for its not happening, somewhere in America, seven times a week. But this opens a set of questions that the makers of COLUMBINUS, despite all their goodwill and good work, have barely begun to adumbrate, let alone explore. [The United States Theatre Project’s] desire to link the experience at Columbine with the experience of every high school has only brought them to the far bigger challenge of analyzing the society in which such high schools, and such children, can exist. For that, the documents of this one horrifying case provide only a quick glance into the abyss. Tragedy needs to stare more deeply.”
Necessary Dialogues Theatre Co. presents COLUMBINUS at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12-14 and 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at Burning Coal Theatre at the Murphey School, 224 Polk St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27604.
TICKETS: $10. BOX OFFICE: http://event.etix.com/.
The Play: http://www.nytw.org/columbinus_info.asp (New York Theatre Workshop).