The year 2018 was the deadliest in modern American history when it comes to school shootings. It was also the year a tiny theater company of teen actors in Dallas set out to create an original stage play about our deep divisions over Second Amendment rights, mass shootings, background checks and automatic weapons. Americans are either pro-gun or anti-gun – at least that’s how the issues get framed. But these arguments aren’t actually binary.
In Gun Play, a five-part podcast series co-produced by KERA and Guns & America, hosts Hady Mawajdeh and Jerome Weeks follow Cry Havoc Theater Company as the teenagers travel across the country to talk to folks on all sides of the debate, from a mom still wrestling with her daughter’s suicide to the owner of a gun range, on a journey that takes them from the snows of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, to the steps of the U.S. Capitol and the floor of the national NRA convention. These young actors, some from streets plagued by violence, provide a window into an issue that tears at the nation.
The year 2018 was the bloodiest year in American history for school shootings. Purely by coincidence, a tiny theater company of teen actors in Dallas set out to create an original stage play about some of our many arguments over Second Amendment rights, mass shootings, background checks and automatic weapons. In this five-part series, hosts Hady Mawajdeh and Jerome Weeks follow Cry Havoc Theater Company as its student actors research these topics and craft their play - and help us gain some insights into why these issues continue to tear at our nation.
3 min 37 sec
Recent studies have tied gun ownership to the startling high rates of teen suicides in the U.S. In this episode, we meet some of the Cry Havoc actors as they conduct their first interviews about gun violence — self-directed gun violence. We learn they have skin in this game: One cast member has lost a friend to suicide. To the actor’s surprise, that heartbreaking trauma becomes part of their play. Related Links: Summary and Transcript Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America The Grace Loncar Foundation Every Gun Death Is Personal Youth Suicide Rates Are Higher In States With High Gun Ownership, According To A New Study Student Actors Take On The July Shooting of Five Dallas Police Officers The CDC Downplays Guns’ Role in Suicide Prevention Messages The Crisis in Youth Suicide Grace Loncar, Booker T. Student and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas Artist, Dies at 16 Why Teen Suicide Is So Unpredictable
28 min 46 sec
Finding gun owners willing to share their opinions on guns has proved difficult for Cry Havoc — that is, until they visit a gun range. But their visit happens in the wake of the Parkland shooting in Florida, and that event shakes the actors’ ability to be unbiased. Plus, they head to Connecticut for a heartbreaking visit with the parents of two children who died in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Related Links: Summary and Transcript Sandy Hook Promise Eagle Gun Range Owner Discusses Career Change, Spirituality Texas Gun Range to Host Birthday Parties for Children Sandy Hook Parents Promote App For Reporting School Threats Sandy Hook Parent On New Momentum For Gun Law Changes Our Kids Were Murdered at Sandy Hook. We’re marching for them this weekend. Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Families’ Case Against Remington Arms To Proceed
29 min 40 sec
Cry Havoc’s actors visit Washington, D.C., to interview politicians and lobbyists about firearms legislation. They talk with Texas Senator John Cornyn about his Fix NICS Act, and then return to Dallas for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. They hear President Trump address the NRA — but are taken aback by Sen. Cornyn’s fiery speech. Then their visit with the NRA is abruptly stopped. More Information: Sen. Cornyn bill to curb gun violence would crack down on illegal sellers “It’s not just mere symbolism,” Cornyn tells Sutherland Springs after background check bill passes Teen Actors Carry Personal Experiences With Gun Violence To NRA’s Annual Meeting The Teen Actors of Cry Havoc Theater Got Escorted Out Of The NRA Convention
29 min 18 sec
Their interviews done, the actors get down to shaping and staging their new play, Babel. But repeatedly rehearsing real-life traumas is wearing them down. The sold-out crowds applaud them. But — is Babel “fair”? Can the actors even be objective — after parents told them, in person, how their own children were shot to death? Finally, several Black students offer their sobering view of gun violence. More Information: What can Dallas do to curb gun violence? Here’s where council members stand. Since 2014, Dallas Averages One Shooting Per Day Dallas’ sudden spike in homicides has officials perplexed. And not everyone agrees that state troopers are helping How Dallas-area schools are beefing up security after fatal shooting Dallas ISD trustee claims superintendent failed to respond to his concerns about security and guns in school
29 min 25 sec
Babel is done. The student actors of Cry Havoc Theatre Company sold out every performance of their play. And their show was lauded in the region. But it’s been two years. Gun violence hasn’t declined, and gun sales are soaring amid a global health crisis. We talk to the performers and ask them what they think about guns today. More Information: Cry Havoc Theater’s Crossing the Line Turns the Voices of Immigration Into a Play. Theater with No Borders Teen Actors Take On Sex Education and Immigration Based On Their Experiences In School and At The Border On The Border Cry Havoc Theater Goes Retro… And Futuristic With An Audio Play Q&A: Mara Richards Bim
35 min 24 sec