ECC Theatre’s production of “columbinus” aims to create community conversation

  • Tags: Arts Center | Events
Published 10/07/2019
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Elgin Community College Theatre's production of "columbinus," a theatrical discussion by The United States Theatre Project, will be held Friday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 17. Performances will be held at the ECC Arts Center located in Building H on the Spartan Drive Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. 

A melding of fact and fiction, "columbinus" explores the events surrounding the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School. The drama weaves together the words of parents, survivors, and community leaders as well as police evidence, bringing to light the dark recesses of American adolescence. Written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli with dramaturgy by Patricia Heaton, ECC's production is directed by Susan A. Robinson, ECC Theatre Instructor and Program Coordinator.

"About three years ago, a student in my theatre appreciation class handed me a copy of "columbinus."  The student said it was a very powerful play she had been a part of in high school. Knowing the script was about a school mass shooting, I didn't think we were ready for it," says Robinson. "And then the mass shootings continued to happen.”

Robinson attended a production of "columbinus" by The Yard and Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. "I could see the production was not only possible but important. I believe theatre can create change in the world,” said Robinson, who decided after careful consideration to bring "columbinus" to ECC. “I spent the last five years here choosing scripts that matter, bringing to the forefront issues that need to be addressed. It was time."

Paparelli, who conceived the script, said, “’columbinus’ is not a play; it is a theatrical discussion.” By creating a dialogue around a devastating and defining threshold moment in our history, ECC Theatre’s production aims to foster a community conversation about the issues surrounding gun violence in order to inspire positive change. Each performance will include a post-show discussion with the audience led by knowledgeable professionals, including counselors, law enforcement members, and school administrators.

The content explored in "columbinus" is not suitable for all audiences. In order to be true to the events and feelings surrounding this horrific tragedy, the production includes simulated firearm sound effects, guns, violence, hate speech, sexual content, self-harm, and death. Attendance is not recommended for individuals particularly sensitive to the subject matter or anyone under the age of 13. If you have questions, please contact the ECC Arts Center box office at 847-622-0300 or email artscenter@elgin.edu

Tickets for ECC Theatre’s production of “columbinus” are $11 for adults and $9 for students and seniors. Tickets for all performances at the ECC Arts Center are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC Arts Center box office. Box office hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call 847-622-0300. All major credit cards are accepted. “columbinus” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.