Westport Country Playhouse has received a $20,000 grant from Connecticut Humanities to coordinate and host a series of events that will be held in conjunction with the theater’s Oct. 30 world premiere presentation of “Thousand Pines,” a drama by Matthew Greene about gun violence in schools.
According to the theater, the events will include symposia and panel discussions related to gun violence, along with a discussion involving the creative artists involved in the new production. “Thousand Pines” focuses on the aftermath of a junior high school shooting where a student killed his classmates. Michael Barker, managing director of the Westport Country Playhouse, viewed gun violence as a “uniquely American phenomenon,” but he added that the play should not be viewed as a partisan statement on the contentious gun control debate.
“The play does not delve into the politics of gun violence, but instead emphasizes our common humanity when dealing with unspeakable tragedy,” he said. “While the Playhouse production addresses a national epidemic, it is especially relevant for our community with the proximity of Newtown, Connecticut.”
“Thousand Pines,” which was developed in early 2017 by the theater’s New Works Circle Initiative, is directed by Austin Pendleton and will run through Nov. 17.