sponsored by: RICH GILLARD
"I’m as American as white crosses, red blood, and blue lives.
I put the buckshot in your beef, the ball in your brain."
Sarah Schecter is a California-based theatre artist, community organizer, and junior. At school she studies Playwriting and is a member of the Teen Core Council at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Her work has been published by the New York Times, Still I Rise Films, We Write Here, and the 2018 Heart of Oakland Festival. She spends her non-theatrical time as treasurer for Bay Area Student Activists, a student-led civic engagement group, and learning and cooking in kitchens around the Bay Area.
In this re-imagining of Buffalo Bill’s storytelling and P.T. Barnum’s grandeur, a ringleader explores the fusion of American myth and gun culture through four acts of an incredible spectacle - and a show gone terribly wrong.
Get to Know Sarah
When did you start writing? What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I began telling stories when I was very young, loving the absurd- my grandmother would listen and write them out. Jewish traditions of storytelling and interpretation have had a huge influence on the way I adapt and tell stories. Some of my favorite writers are David Sedaris, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sarah Ruhl, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Miranda July.
How did you come to write your #ENOUGH play? Given that there are many dimensions to the issue of gun violence, what aspect did you focus on and why?
One thing that struck me while brainstorming is that gun violence isn’t necessarily some story to tell. Rather, it interrupts stories, meaning people’s lives. There are some simple truths I wanted to address: gun violence exists outside of school shootings. Gun violence existed before the 21st century. Society sees school shootings as divorced events, and beyond that, many don’t recognize that guns were used to colonize land and enforce chattel slavery. This frustrates me, so I wrote about guns as a spectacle and explored American gun lore.
What other issues or subjects do you care deeply about that you wish you saw on stage more? Why is this issue important for you?
As a Jewish person, I’d love to see more work addressing Ashkenormativity and varied Jewish experiences, communities, and identities. As a young person, I’m excited at the idea of seeing clever theatre about climate change. As someone from Oakland, I’d love to see more plays about my hometown focusing on gentrification, culture, and history.
If you could write a play or story that represented the future you want to be a part of, what would it look like?
Probably a fantasy hippie shtetl where people are able to live out values like equity and justice, and liberation is attainable. There are lots of fruit trees and bees. I’m always inspired by individuals putting in the work to create strong communities and families.
What are some of your favorite plays?
Some of my favorite plays are The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, White by James Ijames, Church by Young Jean Lee, and ...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi by Marcus Gardley.
What will your next play be about?
I am currently working on two new projects. The first is a radio play about two charming plumbers who discover something sinister in the pipes, and my longer piece is a contemporary Purim spiel (a comic dramatization of the Book of Esther) about WASP-y women, dramaturgs, and vampires
MS. MARTIN'S MALAISE
by Adelaide Fisher
Ms. Martin is an ordinary high school teacher, trying to deal with the everyday stress and worrying ‘what-ifs’ of 21st century teaching. But when her worst fears come true, and she is forced to make a difficult decision and an even more difficult confrontation, what will she do? And how will she move forward from it?
by Debkanya Mitra
Four individuals tell the story of Malcolm, a Black folk musician whose quest through the Eastern Seaboard to find himself was violently interrupted, painting an evocative picture of the connection shared among strangers through a single life.
GUNS IN DRAGONLAND
by Eislinn Gracen
During a recess like any other, Lilah Gordon and her best friend/imaginary dragon, Toucan, set off on a special adventure to help Lilah earn dragon wings of her own. But things go awry when a mysterious noise from her nearby school compels the duo to embark on the biggest quest they have ever encountered.
by Olivia Ridley
Propelled by the urgency of his own decay and desperate to be heard, BLACK BOY delivers his “villain’s monologue” - a parting speech typically delivered to a hero before their death - to his audience held at gunpoint.
by Azya Lyons
Imani, Aiyanna, Chayenne, and Aaliyah have just graduated high school and are celebrating at a party in their honor until their evening of entertainment takes a tragic turn.
by Elizabeth Shannon
When a rumor about a school shooter begins to circulate, Kiersa and her friends must decide what they should do to protect their classmates before it is too late.
Explore this year's collection of plays that reveal the many dimensions of gun violence in America and the young playwrights who wrote them.
Students in grades 6-12 write short plays on the topic of gun violence.