This past April, I was a part of my school’s production of 26 Pebbles
In May of 2013, a writer and actor from New York traveled to a small town called Newtown. This was six months after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
This man was named Eric and he felt the need to make art out of something horrific—all in hopes to inspire change and raise questions. Eric interviewed people in the town, month after month, coming back to listen to the stories that people were willing to share.
The town was slow to open their doors and one woman, who held Eric’s arm as her interview concluded, saying, “Don’t hurt us, we’ve been hurt enough.”
Eric then wrote a play, everything verbatim of what people told him. The play was not a reenactment of a man coming into a school and shooting twenty six teachers and students. It was not a play with a political agenda. It was a story of grief, community, and perseverance.
Now, what questions did this play aim to raise?
Well, Eric left that up to the cast who portrayed his work. Our cast hoped to answer the question of “is it possible for things to change?” We felt it fitting as characters throughout the play grappled with their faith, the connection of their community, and if the shooter and his mother deserved mercy.
For me, I had two questions:
- Who in my community is not connected and where is the absence of love?”
- And “how do I continue to respect the stories I researched and read about during the process of this play?”
There are so many things I could say to answer this, but I always come back to one thought:
- A girl named Caroline Previdi was killed along with nineteen of her classmates, yet it is not her death I remember. I remember learning at her funeral everyone wore pink, as it was her favorite color.
- A boy named Dylan Hockley flapped his wings like a butterfly whenever he was excited.
- A teacher named Anne-Marie Murphy held Dylan in her arms with great love as they died.
These people have names and faces. I respect them when I remember they and the people on T.V. are not numbers in growing statistics, but people who loved, laughed, and cared the same as me.
Elisabeth Dellit is a 10th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.