Theatre 4's collaboration to bring such an impactful play to the SRV Performing Arts Center will forever be something that will never be forgotten. With multiple performances in the form of assemblies to almost the entire school, it truly brought many lessons and thoughts to the table. Not only does it remind us about the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, yet it explores a number of aspects and things to consider when on the conversation of gun violence. Not just that, author Eric Ulloa manages to capture the event from different eyes: perspectives from the real people who were effected by what happened. The play was thrown from one direction to another, making sure the audience manages to grasp every concept in every corner of the situation in ways that they have never probably thought of. Once again, not just capturing the tragedy, the sympathy, and the news that plagued conversations and media at the time, but the rippling thoughts that truly needed to be heard and considered.
Through this story, we simply learned about humanity, and what it means to face the darkest moments. What about gun violence? What about the shooter? Those factors within the script were used to enhance the purpose and lesson of this story. It manages to successfully avoid being too political while it attaches itself to humanity and the grief that progresses into something so much more. We see Newtown - the people, the shivering moment of the day it happened, and the outcomes and emotions that lay behind all of it that define humanity processing the ugly. In reference to the 26 lives that were lost, they are described as "pebbles being thrown into a pond." Through the entire experience, audiences follow along the idea that each of those lives created ripples. Not just the effects, yet the thoughts, the emotions, the actions, and anything that comes after that. Those lives were the circumstances, while "26 Pebbles' is a story of hope and of family and of community. It is a story of the human condition," Ulloa states.
"Newtown doesn't want to be remembered as the town of tragedy. We want to be remembered as a bridge to a new and kinder world. It's not about the suburbs or the urban areas. It's about the red blood that flows out of all of our veins. It's about the clear tears that flow out of our eyes. We are all the
same...." proclaims the local Newtown rabbi. 26 Pebbles turns into a story of healing rather than a story filled with political-based dialogue and argument despite the commotion that occurred in reality of the event. Through theatre, the voices of the Newtown community were able to be heard in a way that makes the audience truly feel instead of see.
The parts that we didn't get to see at the time were finally seen here. The loudness of the news and media felt silenced. The story being told through live theatre is a huge factor in this, as it stays grounded with the audience every second of the way, and we are led to see each step of Newtown's healing all in one sitting, walking away from the Performing Arts Center feeling the emotions connected to the people of Newtown.