Sandy Hook Massacre Inspires Provocative RMU Play
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Pittsburgh, Sept. 23, 2014 – For the first
time, Robert Morris University’s Colonial Theatre program will perform a
full-length, original production – and a play written by a student to
boot. The university’s production of Remembrance, an original
play written by senior English major and Honors student, Tanner
Sebastian, will run from Oct. 2-4 in the Massey Theater at RMU’s Moon
play follows a family struggling with the question of how to grieve for
someone who has done the unforgivable after the youngest son shoots and
kills 14 people, including himself and his mother. Sebastian wrote this
story after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in
Connecticut, when he noticed that the media did not recognize Nancy
Lanza, the mother of shooter Adam Lanza, as a victim in the massacre.
“Twenty-eight people, including Adam and Nancy, were dead, but we
were asked to remember 26,” says Sebastian. “I wondered how the
surviving Lanza family was feeling, and Remembrance developed from there.”
Sebastian’s hope is to force his audience to consider the parents of
perpetrators of these horrible crimes. Too often, people unfairly blame
the parents for what their child has done.
“They did not raise their child to do this, and yet they get an
unnecessary stigma at a time where they need support and acceptance,” he
Sebastian understands that almost all playwrights worry about how
people will accept their work, and he is ready to take on the
controversy and even antipathy his play may generate.
“I know this story carries with it intense emotions and I expect some backlash,” he says.
Remembrance is directed by RMU associate professor of
communication, Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre, who also serves as Sebastian’s
Honors thesis advisor.
“When Tanner told me that this idea scared him, I knew that it was
one he needed to explore. The resulting work is both beautiful and full
of pain,” says Burgess-Lefebvre.
The RMU production features a cast of six RMU students: Patrick
Hanlon, Abby Shepherd, Noah Scholder, Braelin Andrezejewski, Raymond
Lamont Sims, and Bobby Tramontina.
All performances are at 7:30pm and tickets are available at the door for $10. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.