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The Library

a Drama
by Scott Z. Burns

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 4868

SHOWING : March 04, 2016 - March 19, 2016



Partly inspired by the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, "The Library" focuses on the aftermath of a deadly school shooting. Far from being a one-sided play about gun control or religion, Burns’ focus lands squarely on the media, the community, and society at large and the way that we take hold of a story in the wake of a catastrophic event. In its review of Burns’ play, said, "Scott Z. Burns delivers a smart and probing drama with an aggressive calmness. You’ll leave "The Library" angry for all the right reasons."

Director Zip Rampy
Nolan Gabriel Jeffrey Bigger
Ryan Mayes Ian Coulter
Thornton/Surgeon Stephen DeVillers
Elizabeth Gabriel Stacy King
Caitlin Gabriel Lauren Megan
Detective Washburn/Nurse Mary Saville
Dawn Sheridan Emily Tyrybon
Father Dunston/Publisher A. Julian Verner
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A Witness to the Persecution
by playgoer
Monday, March 14, 2016
Caitlin is a victim of a school shooting, perpetrated by a young adult she knew slightly. Rumors swirl after she survives that she tipped the shooter off as to the location of additional victims. Despite her protestations, the world at large (including her parents) seems to put more credence in the rumors than in her recollections. "The Library" follows her story from the time of the shooting through the release of a thorough police report.

The set design is credited to Joel Coady, but it seems to be the audience-splitting center stage configuration left over from the last production, with the addition of a table and four chairs in the middle of the stage. It’s not a particularly good design for this show, although the Out of Box website states that "The Library will be presented in the round, a nod to the way that these stories and events become central to our experience." It would be more accurate to say that the truth of events is obscured from our sight for extended periods. Zip Rampy’s blocking places actors’ back to various portions of the audience for entire scenes.

Jim Poteete’s lighting design is generally fine for illumination, but there are segments near the start and end that flash lights on various sides of the stage in fairly rapid succession as lines are alternated, almost to the point of inducing motion sickness. Zip Rampy’s sound design is more effective, starting with realistic-sounding TV broadcasts, but the swelling music in the final scene caused me to be unable to comprehend a few lines.

Acting is quite good throughout. I was particularly impressed by Mary Saville as hard-nosed Detective Washburn, but everyone does a good job. Part of my favorable impression of Ms. Saville was due to the blocking that had her circling the table, presenting her expressive face to my direction much of the time. In her role as the Nurse, however, I saw nothing but a side view of the back of her head. I’m sure the performances would be better received in a configuration that would allow a more comprehensive view of the action.

"The Library" is performed as a long one-act play, and the denouement becomes a bit tiresome. After the police report’s contents are revealed, we are subjected to read selections from "Winesburg, Ohio" and "Cold Mountain." This may be an attempt by playwright Scott Z. Burns to emphasize the lessons of his story, but it seems a bit of a cheap trick. The play could stand on its own without any need to ride on the coattails of other authors. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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