Shadowbox production sheds light on school violence
The Shadowbox Players tackle a tough and timely subject in the opening show of its second season, “Bang Bang, You’re Dead.”
The play, based on an original script by William Mastrosimone, a playwright from Trenton, N.J., focuses on an 18-year-old high school student named Josh who is haunted by the memories of five fellow classmates he shot and killed at school.
Mastrosimone won a Peabody Award in 2002 for his work aimed at raising awareness of the roots of school violence. He wrote it after shootings took place in three schools in Oregon, Kentucky and Arkansas in 1997 and 1998.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 21, 22, 28 and 29 in Founders Hall Amphitheatre, Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood campus.
The show directed by Rob MacIntyre of Irwin takes place in a small jail cell after the murders. Josh is portrayed by Evan Vay of Allison Park; Bridget Malley plays Emily, Josh’s best friend and one of his victims.
While “Bang Bang” is based around Josh’s emotions and struggles to come to terms with what he has done, Vay says it also doesn’t “hold back any punches” and may serve as a wakeup call.
“The amount of raw, genuine emotion found in both the writing and performances from our amazing cast will easily move audiences,” he says. “It will also likely make them think more critically of school shootings, which is what topical shows like this strive to accomplish.”
Malley says people should see this show “because I guarantee it’s going to be a beautifully minimalistic rollercoaster of emotions. Rob’s made some amazing directorial decisions, and I’m excited for people to see how one cot and six people becomes so much more.
“Hopefully theatergoers take away a thoughtful mindset, not to mention a greater desire to support the programs, companies and theaters that make shows like this a reality.”
The cast also features Brittany Marie, Addy Hildebrand, Alicia DiPaolo and Christopher Robin.
Giving young actors a voice
MacIntyre said last fall when his new company staged its first show that his vision for Shadowbox Players is to bring to the stage productions that give young actors in their late teens to early 20s a vehicle to showcase their talents.
His second season will continue March 1-10 with “A Few Good Men” at the Westmoreland Courthouse in Greensburg, followed by “Pirate Queens” May 17-25 at the Theatre Factory in Trafford.
“And while it’s not officially part of our season, we’ll also be running the Haunted Brewery Tours at Rivertowne Brewery in Export every weekend in October,” he says.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review staff writer.