Westport Country Playhouse will present a series of special events, free-of-charge and open to the community, surrounding its world-premiere drama, “Thousand Pines,” playing October 30 through November 17. Written by Matthew Greene and directed by Austin Pendleton, the production brings the national dialogue about gun violence to the Playhouse stage. Support for the community events is provided by a grant from CT Humanities.
“Thousand Pines” is a story of common humanity, healing, and forgiveness in the wake of a shooting at Thousand Pines Junior High School. As three families gather months later, on Thanksgiving Day, they are united in their grief and determination to move forward. The play contains mature themes and language.
“Great plays like ‘Thousand Pines’ open minds and invite conversation,” said Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director. “We are thrilled that CT Humanities is supporting all of these opportunities for our community to engage in dialogue around the play’s current and important themes.”
A panel discussion on “Art and Gun Violence” will feature Matthew Greene, “Thousand Pines” playwright; Mary Himes, #UNLOAD co-founder and executive director; and Helen Klisser During, #UNLOAD co-founder and artistic director; moderated by Bethany Gugliemino, WCP artistic and management associate, on Monday, October 29, in the Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The panel discussion begins at 7 p.m.
A discussion with Linda Rost, trauma expert and co-coordinator of the Fairfield County Trauma Recovery Network, is set for Friday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn Center.
A Sunday Symposium with Dr. Firmin DeBrabander, philosophy professor at Maryland Institute College of Art and author of the book Do Guns Make us Free?, is scheduled for Sunday, November 4, immediately following the 3 p.m. matinee performance of “Thousand Pines.”
A panel discussion on dealing with loss and fighting for change in response to gun violence will include Mark Barden, Sandy Hook Promise founder and managing director; Jeremy Stein, Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV) executive director; and Matthew Greene, “Thousand Pines” playwright; moderated by Josh Koskoff, attorney, on Sunday, November 11 immediately following the 3 p.m. matinee performance of “Thousand Pines.”
Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, associate professor of legal studies at Quinnipiac University, will be interviewed by Michael Barker, Playhouse managing director, on the constitutional context of gun laws in the U.S. and internationally, on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn Center.
During the run of “Thousand Pines,” from November 3 through November 17, there will be an art exhibition, “#UNLOAD: Taking Aim,” presented by #UNLOAD and the Artists Collective of Westport, in the Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn Center.
Also during the run, there will be post-show salons at selected performances where patrons are invited to discuss the play and its themes in the Playhouse’s Smilow Lounge on the mezzanine level.
For information on all “Thousand Pines” special events, visit westportplayhouse.org/ThousandPinesEvents or call the box office at (203) 227-4177.
Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1 in Westport. For more information, visit westportplayhouse.org, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177 or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.