Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Columbine Project (Actors Temple Theatre)

The Columbine Project
Actors Temple Theatre
Aug. 5, 2009
Paul Anthony Storiale (writer/director)

On the tenth anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School, Paul Anthony Storiale means to provide fresh insight into a shocking story. But his play, The Columbine Project, is a fumbling and wooden mess that tosses out the same confusion of answers that the talking heads on a 24-hour news network would offer.

The title suggests that Storiale was inspired by the drama-journalism of The Laramie Project, a suspicion reinforced by the montage structure that mingles interviews, court transcripts, re-enactments of 911 calls, and fictional dramatic scenes. Storiale indicts everyone and no one: blithe parents, bullying jocks, winking school administrators, incompetent officials and cops, hormonal teenagers,
video games, and the murderers' own sub-Nietzschean philosophy.

The show's worst moments are the fictionalized scenes, for which Storiale should have his dramatic license revoked. They resemble generic TV versions of teen life and digress to offer shaggy ironies (one of the boys was born on September 11!). The actors display the worst cliches of their craft, like staring off into space above the audience's heads when they're saying something profound. As the show goes on, a white spotlight means to give these moments even more gravity. The show finally hammers itself home with a speech that begins, “The world changed on April 20, 1999.” and ends with an acoustic version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. No matter what Storiale's intentions were, theater this clumsy is a disservice to the victims' memories.


The Columbine Project has an open run at the Actors Temple Theatre (339 W. 47th St.) from July 27.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! really bad show.