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Editor’s Notebook: Play focuses on all victims of school shootings

By Frannie Tyner and Amy Fleming

It’s just another day at Bishop’s, enjoying the quad, sitting in the sun, ocean breeze blowing; it’s perfect. And then everything goes horribly wrong. People are screaming, students are falling down and not getting up. Someone you recognize is holding a gun.

Now imagine that person’s your best friend, your boyfriend, or maybe someone you don’t know at all.

Bishop’s varsity acting class, Acting Workshop, performed a play that projected this image to each of its audience members. Whenever we hear about a school shooting, most of us react in the same way; we pity those that were killed, and curse the person holding the gun. And that’s fine, in some ways that’s how it should be. But what if, instead of writing them off as a psychopath, we tried to understand what would drive a person, a child, to commit such a crime?

The reality of the situation is that whoever held the gun is just as much a human being as those who lost their lives. We, as witnesses to such atrocities, don’t want to admit this. We want them to be demons, monsters. But Bang Bang You’re Dead doesn’t let you take the easy way out. It doesn’t let you turn Josh (as that’s the killer’s name) into a devil. He’s Josh, a 16 or 17-year-old boy, and no matter how much we want to, we can’t change that.

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For the 745 students and 92 faculty members on campus at Bishop’s it’s quite unimaginable that something like this would ever happen. Yet it does. Bang Bang was written with the hopes of teaching high schoolers worldwide that turning to the gun is not the answer. And teach it did. The acting was superior, as the stage seemed not to be full of actors, but full of real life people with dreams, aspirations, and mistakes.

In the end Josh, the killer, comes to the conclusion that life isn’t what he thought it was. It’s not a video game that you can merely hit “Reset” on and everything will be fine. Because in the real world, the fact is, you don’t always get second chances.

Following curtain call, an informal Q&A session ensued. The audience was invited to ask the actors about their characters, about the psychological reasoning behind their actions, about how we can prevent events like this from ever happening again; ultimately turning the production from a simple play to a powerful statement.