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‘A Thousand Pines’ explores human side of tragedy

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‘A Thousand Pines’ explores human side of tragedy

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By Ella Bloomingdale ’20

With the Parkland shooting still fresh in our minds and gun-right activists still protesting Congress for the lack of gun control regulations, the Westport Country Playhouse brings the controversial topic of school shootings to center stage with the upcoming production, “Thousand Pines.” Written by Matthew Greene, the play focuses on the grief and human drama following a middle school shooting similar to Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland.
According to an article published by the New Canaan News, Greene is putting an interesting perspective on this production.
“Each family deals with loss in very different ways. It’s told in three acts, with the same cast portraying three different families,” Greene says.
Staples students are equally emotional towards the plays story.
“I can’t imagine living through a tragedy like Parkland. Life would be totally different after,” Nina Udell ’20 said.
David Kennedy, the Associate Artistic Director of the WCP, acknowledges the challenges of shining a spotlight on such an emotionally sensitive topic. The production team had to “get the details correct, capture the emotional currents of the story with accuracy, and present those in a truthful way,” Kennedy said.
The story focuses on the how the town attempts to recover after a deadly middle school shooting. The concept of art commenting on such a nationally relevant and sometimes divisive topic — as seen in the post-Parkland March For our Lives movement — is striking.
“Art absolutely has a role for both stimulating dialogue about critical issues,” Kennedy said, “as well as creating a space for working through feelings about traumatic events.”
Directed by Austin Pendleton, there will be evening and matinee performances between the premiere date and the closing on Nov. 17. “Thousand Pines” is set to have its world premiere on Oct. 30.
Because gun violence is such a raw topic, the WCP is providing supporting events to help deal with the emotional response of its audience.
“Because we know this will leave some people wanting to debrief afterward,” Kennedy said, “we’ve surrounded the production with a lot of enhancement to give patrons a chance to participate in a larger conversation.”
This production that is being put on at the Westport Country Playhouse is a controversial and big issue in the United States still today, and this new performance is a new and different way of spreading awareness about gun violence.

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‘A Thousand Pines’ explores human side of tragedy