In late 2014, former YPT Teaching Artist and longtime supporter Adrienne Nelson approached YPT’s Student Advisory Council with a compelling project. She and her team were launching the DC premiere of One in the Chamber, a new play about children and gun violence, and they wanted the Council to get involved.
Seeking young people’s perspectives on guns, the Chamber team invited the Council to write response pieces to the play. Four students wrote pieces, and two were selected for a FREE staged reading after the closing performance on Sunday, September 6.
Read excerpts from the four response plays below, then come to Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint on 9/6 for a gripping performance and free staged reading! The play begins at 8pm, the reading at 9:30pm.
RSVP on Facebook for more information!
Our Crafted Night, by Cameron Byrd
ELENA: I didn’t know you knew how to handle a gun.
WINNAH: I don’t. I’m not even allowed to know where it is in the house. But every time my father goes out hunting, he comes back with dead squirrels, rabbits. Once he even brought back a whole deer. I felt horrible at first, just lying there looking pitiful. But once momma cooked it, it was delicious.
ELENA: Well your father’s rules apply here in the palace too, Winnah. No handling of anything that looks like its dangerous. And the same goes for Anna too, okay? There’s a lot going on these days, and I want you both to stay safe. Promise me.
WINNAH: Okay, I promise.
The Life and Times of Julie Parker, by Anna Vargas
LIGHTS UP on JULIE (YOUNG) standing neutral in front of a swingset as ANDY (ADULT) continues to speak from the side of the stage, papers in his hand.
ANDY (ADULT): I find that ridiculous. First of all, if your entire life was condensed into a single flash, a single moment, it would go by so fast you won’t be able to register the fact that it was your life before it would be over. So for this to be true, it would have to be select scenes from your life. But what dictates what parts are chosen? The happiest moments? The moments most crucial to your development as a person? The saddest moments? Your first steps? Your first breath? What could be so important to relive right before you forget it all?
Red Cabinet, by Paul McCoyer
ELIZA: Can you play checkers with me?
BEN: Sure, lemme go get the board…
He exits. ELIZA notices the red cabinet.
ELIZA: (Shouting) Ben!
BEN: (Shouting from offstage) What?
ELIZA: (Shouting) What’s in the red cabinet?
BEN: (Shouting from offstage) I dunno, why don’t you open it if you’re so curious?
ELIZA sighs, gets up from the table, and opens the cabinet door. She removes a small handgun from the cabinet with a mixed look of curiosity and awe and takes it back to the table with her. BEN reenters.
BEN: Couldn’t find the checkers and (Tone changes to a worried one) WOAH where did you get that??
ELIZA: (Nonchalantly) In the red cabinet.
BEN: (Nervously) You know what that is, right, Liz?
ELIZA: Yeah. It’s a gun. It’s cool.
BEN: No, no, it’s not cool, it’s dangerous, and you need to put it down right now.
Dodge, by Will Larrocca
(ASHLEY walks next to him.)
A: A Budweiser please.
(She glares at him.)
M: Do I know you?
M: Then do you mind not glaring at me? (ASHLEY still glares at him.) Oh, I get it. You watch the news.
M: So I’m going to guess that you know who I am.
M: I’m gonna take another guess and say that you don’t like me.
A: (Sarcastically) You’re good at this.
M: Thank you. Well, let’s get this over with. What do you want to say to me?
A: I just want to let you know that I think you should be ashamed of yourself.
M: (Sarcastically) Wow, you think I should be ashamed! That really hurts my feelings. Well, I don’t feel ashamed so you can save that one.
A: Really? You don’t feel any guilt?
M: Nope. I mean, I’m sorry that he died, but I’m not ashamed of anything I did.
For more of these powerful, poignant student-written plays, come to the FREE staged reading on Sunday, September 6 at 9:30pm! Click here for tickets. Recommended for ages 13 and up due to adult subject matter.