Breakthrough Theater of Winter Park
by Nicholas C. Pappas
Directed by Wade Hair
Starring Coletyn P. Hentz
I’m normally cool towards “Issues” plays, but this one takes a fresh and slightly off beat look at the bad business of teen agers shoot up the old Alma Mater. James (Hentz) just doesn’t fit in with life. He’s picked on at school by the usual suspects: the jocks, the tough kids, and the other slightly different misfits. But he’s pretty normal on the outside at least. His hair is neat, he’s not overweight, he gets acceptable grades, maybe even there’s a GF lurking in his life, but there is still something that doesn’t fit, and he takes out his vengeance on his high school and more than a few schoolmates die. While the gun culture / violent video games / all the other stock excuses are offered, the story makes it clear none of them are the real issue. So, what is?
That’s where the show really drives home. Turns out there really is a school shooter section in hell, and the gunmen from Sandy Hook and parkland and Santa Fe. It looks a lot like the regular Breakthrough stage, but I can see how it would grow old fast. There even the lone female shooter Brenda Ann Spencer, the girl who inspired the Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays.” So, what’s his reason? The explanation for the random death of your causal friends? He doesn’t really know. He just sort of… slipped. He had guns. He was angry, but its hard to say what at. He was in turmoil as all teens tend to be. And he took his own life, thankfully not on stage. It’s a heavy show for the late summer, back to school tax holiday weekend. But it’s show worth watching, even if it doesn’t leave you feel in glad about humanity.