KERA Art and Seek

On The Border

On The Border

We’re living in a disturbing time in American history, one where the federal government, in the opinion of some, is once again fostering concentration camps. Living in Texas, this situation feels particularly amplified.

This spring, eight North Texas teens headed to the border to take a first-hand look at the immigration crisis. They heard stories both harrowing and uplifting. And they turned those testimonies into a play called “Crossing the Line.”

America's Gun Debate Brought To Life On Stage

America's Gun Debate Brought To Life On Stage

Several months ago, Cry Havoc Theater Company set out to create a play about America's gun debate. Now, the show's in it's final week of production. Hear how they took real-life experiences and turned them into a play.

After months of research, interviews and rehearsals, the teen actors of Cry Havoc Theater Company are slipping into their costumes and preparing to perform their original play about guns and gun violence in America.

Art&Seek has been following the making of “Babel.” In this week’s Spotlight, we travel through time to some of the earliest rehearsals in order to show you how they got ready for opening night.

The Time For Talking’s Over. It’s Time To Act.

The Time For Talking’s Over. It’s Time To Act.

There’s a new play in Dallas about the American debate over gun violence. But this one’s very different.

Teen actors take on the roles of real-life victims and gun advocates. In this week’s State of the Arts, Art & Seek’s Anne Bothwell talks with reporters Hady Mawajdeh and Jerome Weeks (who’ve been following the production for six months) about what it took for these teenagers to create the show called ‘Babel.’

Anne: Jerome, Cry Havoc Theater Company started work on this play in January. Why so long to create a play?

Jerome: Their process is what’s called devised or documentary theater. That means they start without a script, they start from scratch.

For ‘Babel,’ they interviewed dozens of people on different sides in our national gun debate and then used the transcripts from those interviews to hammer out their own script.

Relics Of Violence

Relics Of Violence

Some 7000 donated shoes evoke human loss in Cry Havoc's new art installation

The teen theater company, Cry Havoc, has been developing a play about gun violence called “Babel.” More than that, they’ve built a set for their play as a public art installation anyone can see – without the show.  The room-sized artwork uses video projections – plus lots and lotsof shoes.

At Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House, volunteers sort through huge piles of donated shoes on the floor. Some 7000 shoes.

“There’s sneakers, there’s flip-flops,” says Bart McGeehon, “there’s women’s high heels, there’s hiking boots. There’s baby shoes, a lot of children’s shoes.”

Gun violence, he adds, “touches us all.”

The Teen Actors of Cry Havoc Theater Got Escorted Out Of The NRA Convention

The Teen Actors of Cry Havoc Theater Got Escorted Out Of The NRA Convention

Art & Seek has been following the teenage members of the Cry Havoc theater troupe for months now as they’ve interviewed people – politicians, a gun range owner, gun control advocates, shooting survivors — for a play about the entire gun debate. The high schoolers even became NRA members so they could attend last weekend’s convention. The group spent Friday and Saturday doing just that.  But on the third day, they were escorted out of the convention center by police.

Late Sunday morning, three members of Cry Havoc – Sheldrick Pearl of Skyline High, Fabian Rodriquez and Andrew Beeson, both seniors at Seagoville – were interviewing a young man on the convention floor, while the theater company’s videographer, Taylor Valdez recorded them. They attracted the attention of Charles Brown, a nearby gun vendor. He told the group that unless they had press credentials, they shouldn’t be interviewing.

Valdez warned the students the vendor was probably going to call security.

One of the teens, Fabian Rodriguez, recalls, “”She was like, we should probably go, and we were just walking until the security, he was like, ‘Excuse me, guys,’ and we thought he was just going to pass us, but then he was like, ‘You guys can’t be recording, you guys have to get that out of here.’

The students’ interviews are for ‘Babel,’ a play they’re developing on the gun debate — from background checks to school shootings to open carry. Eventually, all ten students, and the three adults who accompanied them – Valdez, Cry Havoc director Mara Richards Bim and assistant director Allison Hibbs – were escorted out by security members and Dallas Police officers. They were told they could return – but without their recording equipment.

Teen Actors Carry Personal Experiences With Gun Violence To NRA's Annual Meeting

Teen Actors Carry Personal Experiences With Gun Violence To NRA's Annual Meeting

A group of teen actors from Dallas are among the NRA’s newest members. Now, they’re heading to the convention. The group’s called Cry Havoc Theater Company and the Art&Seek team has been following them as they research gun violence for a new play. In this week’s Spotlight, the teens share how guns have touched their lives:

It’s about 9 a.m on Saturday morning and the cast of Cry Havoc’s upcoming show have gathered at the Meadows Conference Center in Central Dallas. Mara Richards Bim – the founder and Artistic Director of Cry Havoc – is going over logistics for the group’s trip the NRA convention.

“Okay! So a few things, you should all have now received from me your ‘Welcome’ email to the NRA,” Richards Bim says to the group. Some of the actors are eating donuts, a few are drinking coffee and others are taking notes on a notepads. Richards Bim continues breaking things down for the kids and tells them that they’ll be getting membership cards and baseball caps that spell out ‘N-R-A.’

The actors laugh, but the smiles fade and minds focus as Richards Bim continues.

“So we will come up with a script for you.” says Richards Bim. And then she begins to demonstrate how she wants the actors to introduce themselves to NRA members: “Hi! My name is Cara Lawson. I’m a senior in High School. I’m part of Cry Havoc Theater. We’re creating a show about guns. Would you be willing to answer a few questions?”

'Hi! We're Cry Havoc And We're Doing A Play About Guns And Gun Violence.'

'Hi! We're Cry Havoc And We're Doing A Play About Guns And Gun Violence.'

They may be kids, but these teen actors are may be the only ones acting like adults when it comes to talking about guns.

Each act of gun violence that makes the news sparks a conversation about stopping the next one. Cry Havoc – a teen theater company in Dallas – wants to be part of that discussion. In this week’s Artist Spotlight, we follow the teens on a trip to the East Coast as they connect with politicians trying to fix the problem and survivors who’ve suffered its impact.