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Thursday, 19 July 2018 13:03

Above the Curve Theatre Presents “26 Pebbles”

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“26 Pebbles” runs from July 13 through July 29, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm at T.U. Studio in the NoHo Arts Districgt

“26 Pebbles” is a play about the terrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. 

This horrific day is one of those times in our lives where we all knew where we were when first we heard of it.  Much like 9/11 or perhaps our own individual tragedies, this particular day truly and deeply changed each of us individually and all of us collectively.  But something so difficult and so distressing is hard to translate into art, certainly performance art.  How can we dramatize a day that in many ways we all want to forget, or how can we ever really do justice to the stories of these peoples precious lives?

“26 Pebbles” is an answer to this dilemma. 

It is a clear, beautiful, heartbreaking, unnerving and powerful answer.  With a careful, gentle and humbling examination of the day through the eyes and hearts of some of those who were at the center of it, the moments of their lives before as well as after those horrific five minutes are laid out for us to see and the grace and the reverence of the actors on stage allow us to in some small way experience it.

The story of the day is told as if we, the audience, asked each of these characters to tell us about that day from their own perspective.  There are many more characters than actors on stage, so these wonderful performers artfully and sympathetically double and triple up, skillfully adding scarves, or hats or glasses or attitude as they morph between them.  A parent, a teacher, a farmer, an accountant, a new resident and one whose family had been in the area for generations and many, many more populate the play. 

They paint a picture of a town full of good neighbors, old friends and cherished traditions.

Then the impossible happens.  It unfolds as we sit holding our breath in the audience, hoping that this drama on stage is just that, a drama and not a documentary of what actually happened.  But there is nothing sensationalized about this play or the performances by any actor.  The story is reverently told, piece by tiny piece.  The setting is a classroom and the map of the day’s events is drawn upon the classroom chalkboard taking pride of place on stage as the play unfurls.

It’s an artful and stunning way to take us back to that day. 

The stories on stage are most of those who were in the town when it happened, rather than those who were in the rooms.  The stories are in that way filtered for us, we are protected from the horror of a first-hand account or a re-enactment.  Yet these peripheral anecdotes are chillingly vivid, profoundly moving and completely relatable.

The harm done through this brutal act is felt in waves of pain rippling out from the murders of each child and each teacher, the plays “pebbles.”  The impact of this pain then ripples out again, through the town, through the country, and around the world.  No one is left untouched by it and the ripples continue, through Stoneman Douglas, through Las Vegas and through every single shooting on every single day in America.

How can we change this?  How can we stop this? 

How can we make even the smallest impact in our upside-down world?  I wish I knew.  Creating important art like “26 Pebbles” and performing it over and over again, in every forum and every venue and never forgetting or letting go might do something…and something is so much better than nothing.  And sometimes, with hope, something turns into everything.

I highly recommend “26 Pebbles” from the very good people of Above The Curve Theatre.  Bravo to their instincts who take their talents and their hearts and make something happen.

It’s not a long run, so don’t dawdle…let’s keep those ripples moving ever outwards. 

Tickets: $20 online at www.abovethecurvetheatre.com; $25 at the door *$5 from every ticket sale goes to Everytown For Gun Safety*

Written by Eric Ulloa

Directed by Joe Lorenzo

Cast

Diana De Luna, Erica Brauer, Anthony Marquez, James Patrick, Vanessa Lorenzo, Amy Newman, Mara Shuster-Lefkowitz, Samantha Colicchio, Goreti da Silva and Adriane Shown.

http://www.abovethecurvetheatre.com

Read 1345 times Last modified on Monday, 23 July 2018 07:29
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer, director, filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She co-created the unprecedented project 52 Films/52 Weeks: A Year in Filmmaking, where she and her partners, wrote, directed, produced and edited a film a week for an entire year. She currently has several independent film projects at various stages of development.  

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10 comments

  • Comment Link Nicole Thursday, 26 July 2018 11:17 posted by Nicole

    I saw 26 Pebbles opening weekend. I have to confess, I buried my head in the sand when the initial event happened years ago. This show was the only thing I know of the Newtown tragedy and I'm truly grateful to experience it through this incredibly talented group of people. The honesty, courage and depth of the characters was breathtaking. Grief has touched all of us in one way or another and the way this town moved through their grief is a beautiful example for us all. I highly recommend seeing this show before it's over...

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  • Comment Link Nancy Van Iderstine Monday, 23 July 2018 08:29 posted by Nancy Van Iderstine

    As I was exiting the theatre into the lobby last night, the man ahead of me spied director Joe lorenzo and said one word to him. It was the same word I had in my head -- "beautiful."

    To begin with, using actual interviews with Newtown residents as dialogue is a wonderful idea of Ulloa's. It captures the combination of genuine anguish and stoicism New Englanders would and did express after something as unthinkable as the Sandy Hook shootings.

    The simple staging and casting of really solid actors playing numerous characters each works so well! The performances are grounded and real.

    I think the biggest success of this piece is that while it's heart-wrenching, it's not maudlin. The obvious takeaway from the real-life tragedy is that we have a problem with shootings in this country. Emotionally unstable outcasts (or people who somehow feel like outcasts) have access to assault weapons, and innocents pay the price.

    But this show doesn't clobber the audience with politics. It tells a powerful story in the first person from people who lived it, and we're gently invited to hear them tell it.

    I had my tissues ready, and found I needed them a few times -- in one case because I was moved by the sweetness of the sense of community among the Newtown residents, and sometimes when the characters, particularly one played so organically by Anthony Marquez, fought their own tears as they told the story.

    Above The Curve does great work, and this is more proof of that.

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  • Comment Link James Wakefield Saturday, 21 July 2018 14:44 posted by James Wakefield

    I went to see 26 Pebbles last week and was absolutely blown away.

    The cast really brought to life this tragic event in a sensitive and tactful way covering all aspects and viewpoints of the people affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in an unbiased an honest/transparent fashion. By showing real peoples accounts of the event, it really goes straight to the heart and hammers home the need for reviewed gun policies so this cannot happen again to good honest people and their children.

    The actors showed incredible versatility, each swapping between several different characters seamlessly to portray different viewpoints of the Sandy Hook community.

    I would highly recommend going to see this very powerful play!

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  • Comment Link Ramon Sanchez Friday, 20 July 2018 08:31 posted by Ramon Sanchez

    This was a thoughtful and respectful meditation on love and loss. 26 Pebbles shows us what the mass media fails to show us, the hearts and minds of the real victims of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The small cast expertly change characters to show you a slice of life of the whole the town before, during, and after the shooting. It's not fancy, but it's more than you need to be drawn in the real lives of ordinary people like you: a rabbi, a student, a small business owner, a spiritual healer, people as boring, important, and quirky as people you know. It's exactly what we need to regain our moral bearing and spiritual strength as the shootings continue in our nation.

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  • Comment Link TK Friday, 20 July 2018 07:56 posted by TK

    Thoughtful perspective around tragic events.

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  • Comment Link Dawn Thursday, 19 July 2018 20:03 posted by Dawn

    An unforgettable experience. A graceful and heartfelt performance by all. Congratulations to all on successfully presenting this tragic happening with such humility and compassion.

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  • Comment Link Alex Thursday, 19 July 2018 16:46 posted by Alex

    Excellent perspective on such a tragic event. The grounded performances made it all very relatable. A touching experience that stays with you long after you leave the theater. Kudos.

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  • Comment Link Seth Thursday, 19 July 2018 15:16 posted by Seth

    Show was so great. Put so much into a perspective for such a tragic event. Allowed for all types a feelings.

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  • Comment Link Anthony Thursday, 19 July 2018 14:00 posted by Anthony

    Thank you so much, Samantha.

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  • Comment Link Joe Lorenzo Thursday, 19 July 2018 13:48 posted by Joe Lorenzo

    Thank you for coming and for your kind words.

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