"I’m as American as white crosses, red blood, and blue lives.
I put the buckshot in your beef, the ball in your brain."
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.
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.
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