Friday, January 24, 2014

U of I Prof's GUNPLAY(S) Explore Violence in America

Nicole Anderson-Cobb
University of Illinois professor Nicole Anderson-Cobb, who is herself the author of a play about gun violence from the viewpoint of a family of funeral directors on Chicago's South Side, is working hard to bring more drama on that issue to life. Dr. Anderson-Cobb began a playwriting competition to explore guns in America last summer, and by its November deadline, more than 250 "GunPlay(s)" had been submitted from 32 states and 5 countries outside the United States.

Click this link to hear Anderson-Cobb's interview with WGLT's Judith Valente for more details about why and how GunPlay(s) came about. Valente also served as a first-round judge for the project.

Anderson-Cobb relates that the plays sent in deal with guns, race, justice, the special vulnerability of children, school violence, workplace violence, and and how gun culture has come to permeate every part of our world. And it's not just anti-gun views being represented in scripts. "People are writing from all over the political spectrum," she notes in that interview.

A play reading festival is slated for Fall 2014 to showcase winners in various categories. Playwrights were asked to choose the area that best suited their plays, ranging from "political" to "personal," from "global" to "domestic" and "communal." Dr. Anderson-Cobb is hoping to partner with Champaign-Urbana theaters and schools to better showcase these works as well as inspire more voices, and perhaps to create a complete symposium around the issues of gun violence in America.

James McDaniel
The WLGT piece indicates that actor James McDaniel, who is well-known for his roles on Orange Is the New Black and NYPD Blue, as well as for the fact that he originated the role of Paul in Six Degrees of Separation off-Broadway, will act as the final judge and possibly direct the plays.

For more information about Anderson-Cobb, click here to see her blog and her most recent GunPlay(s) update or here to see the original submission instructions.

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