by Zahid Fayyaz
This was a big hit at the (limited) Edinburgh Fringe this year, and comes down to north London’s Pleasance Theatre for only two performances. It tells the story of the Aurora, Colorado cinema shooting during the Dark Knight Returns movie premiere, when a shooter killed 13 people during a midnight screening. This is a serious subject for a show, and Piccolo Theatre Company put forward the story using the method of verbatim theatre, with the script constructed from interviews with four survivors of the shooting, some of whom lost someone during the attack.
With popcorn ready and waiting on the audiences’ seats, the play starts off with providing some background to the characters’ lives before the events of the evening in question unfold. The scenes describing the shootings and immediate aftermath are vivid and intense, showing the effects of such a shocking act of violence. The decision to never mention the shooters name and concentrate on the victims is a smart one that gives the show an emotional focus it otherwise may have lacked.
The work is wonderfully acted, with all of the emotions of this tough subject handled with sensitivity. The only low point is the section on gun control, which lacked bite and had too much consideration of ‘both sides’ to the subject. However, the rest of the hour makes up for it, and the show is well worth watching next time it is staged.
Screen 9 ran through 13 October.
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