Bang bang you're dead

Sitting down with one of the co-directors of Spectrum Theatre

The Cavalier Daily sat down for an interview with Alex Patton, one of the co-directors for Spectrum Theatre's production of Bang Bang You're Dead. The first showing of the play is tonight at the Forum. The show will begin promptly at 8 p.m., with other productions April 9, 10, 15 and 17. There will be Sunday matinee showings April 11 and 18.

What about the script for Bang Bang You're Dead inspired you to do it?\nBang Bang is a show that requires a fairly small cast - we have a cast of 11 people - and doesn't require a fancy or expensive production to be effective. The show's success is going to be measured by the reception from the audience. We felt like this would be a perfect show for Spectrum because it has been an inexpensive show to produce and it still has a powerful message. Spectrum Theatre was also looking for a show that was not a typical musical or storybook play.

How can you delicately handle such a theme like violence in schools without being controversial or political?\nWith the show, we are not trying to promote gun control or correct people about school administrators. We are merely trying to make people more aware of the differing points of view that are seen in school tragedies, such as the fictional one displayed in Bang Bang. The show doesn't bring up any political issues, but it does make people think about the events leading up to and those that may provoke such a tragedy.

We're nearing the three-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings. Do you think people are ready to see a production that incorporates elements of that tragedy? \nWe are hoping that by putting on this show, people aren't offended. Our main goal with the show is to spread awareness; not necessarily only awareness of school shootings, but also of both sides of the story. We're not trying to stir up past feelings of the Virginia Tech shootings, or any school shooting, for that matter. We hope that the community's response to our show will be positive and realize we have only positive intentions for producing this show.

What is the overall message you want to convey with this production? How do you hope people will react?\nPerhaps it is that there are more victims from a tragedy such as the one in our show than are first apparent. We are hoping that people will react in all sorts of different ways. We anticipate people to be shocked, saddened, surprised, humbled and fortunate, but we don't feel as though anyone will be angered by viewing our show.

How long have you been preparing, and what have rehearsals been like?\nBryce Griffler - my co-director - and I have been preparing since last November for the show, and we have been working with the cast and crew since the middle of January. We rehearse 3-4 times a weeks - for every character in the show, about half of the rehearsal is spent running lines, while the other half we have used to help each actor develop their character. For example, in the show there is a mom, a dad and a principal character. For one rehearsal, we conducted an improv parent-teacher conference. Nowhere in the script is there such an event in the show, but we wanted our actors to use this opportunity to say the things that their character would say and act like their character would act. We also changed the names in the show so that each character had the same name as their respective actor. We found that this helped the actor bond to their character by making it more personal. We have also utilized sources such as HELP Line to show our actors the various resources available to people affected by tragedies such as the one in our show.

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