In response to how theater can be a “power for good,” Phoenix, the honorary theater society at Masters, helped to mark the eighth anniversary of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, with a virtual staged reading on Monday, December 14.
Phoenix was selected as one of 50 communities to be part of a nationwide playwriting and performance initiative called “#Enough: Plays to End Gun Violence.” Members of Phoenix, as well as Masters faculty and other volunteers, participated in the online reading of seven plays written by young people from around the country and world, about a subject that, sadly, this generation knows all too well.
“I brought this project to them because I knew that Phoenix co-Chair Sam New ’21 was a passionate advocate against gun violence,” said Upper School Theater Teacher Meg O’Connor.
The actors felt the impact of the work. “I feel like I connected with the characters in these shows because I feel like I understood the emotions and anxiety some of these characters felt,” said Matthias Sandoval ’21. Sandoval recalled a scene about the Parkland School shootings and how the character said it could have been him experiencing the tragedy. "I remember thinking those exact thoughts,” he said.
“I have a personal connection to gun violence, I lost one of my friends to a school shooting so the topics of some of the plays really resonated with me and spoke to my experience,” added New.
“Not only was it so much fun to do, but I got to combine two of my passions: theater and activism,” said Carol Queiroz ’23. “It felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. The script was worded so beautifully that some lines and stories left me shaking and so emotional. It was amazing to watch it come to life and help bring it to our community.”
“I feel really proud of how the kids have worked together to prepare for this. It’s impressive that this student-led group was able to pull this project together on top of all their other academic and cocurricular commitments,” added O’Connor.