American Theatre

In ‘Babel,’ Teenagers Create a Play About Guns

In ‘Babel,’ Teenagers Create a Play About Guns

“How do we solve America’s gun violence problem?” “What is your interpretation of the Second Amendment?” “What are your thoughts on the NRA?”

These are the questions a group of teens from Dallas, Texas have been asking strangers over six months—for a play. In Texas, guns are more than a tool, they are an identifying cultural marker. A friendly state to gun owners, Texas is the land of “open carry,” a law that allows firearm owners to carry weapons visibly in public places. You don’t have to drive far to find a gun range, hunting and sporting goods stores, or billboards advertising gun shows. It may be no surprise, but Texans love their guns.

But in recent years, that love has butted up against a growing national conversation on gun control, and calls from the public and politician to curtail gun violence. It is that conflict that Babel was born. Babel is a verbatim theatre work by Cry Havoc Theater Company that presents numerous voices in the gun debate—for, against, or ambivalent. I serve as the associate director and dramaturg for this project. Since the right to own a firearm intersects with multiple sociological issues—such as race, class, gender, healthcare, and religion—Babel focuses less on a metal object and more about how that object intersects with American identity.

Cry Havoc is a youth theatre company that devises theatre with teenagers, who then star in them—participants are 14 to 18 years old. Mara Richards Bim created the company to fill a void for teen performers in Dallas. Unlike other youth theatres, which tend to shy away from controversial topics, Cry Havoc believes teens are capable of much more than simplistic material and should have an artistic outlet to articulate their perspectives on various societal issues.

TYA/USA Announces 2018 National Awards

TYA/USA Announces 2018 National Awards

NEW YORK CITY: Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA) has announced the recipients of the 2018 National TYA/USA Awards. The awards will be presented as part of the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival on April 28.

Cry Havoc Theater Company is providing meaningful experiences for teens across Dallas, providing them a timely and important platform to investigate the issues that matter the most to them. We are so grateful for their contributions to the field, and proud to shine a spotlight on their work.

‘Shots Fired’ Hits Close to Home for Dallas Teens

‘Shots Fired’ Hits Close to Home for Dallas Teens

The way the kids of Cry Havoc processed the aftermath of the July shooting was to work throughout the fall of 2016 on a documentary-style devised-theatre piece titled Shots Fired, which premiered in January 2017. To create the piece, Richards Bim, codirector Ruben Carrazana, and the actors tracked down as many people as they could find to interview about the night of the shooting: police officers, community members, therapists, Black Lives Matter supporters, and Blue Lives Matter folks as well. The company is currently remounting the show, in a coproduction with Dallas’s Kitchen Dog Theater, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting.