In a telling bit of serendipity, as the Ferguson story in book and exhibit form are traveling to Newton and nearby Stratford, so too, the story of Newton and Sandy Hook is coming to St. Louis in the form of the play 26 Pebbles.
Starting Tuesday June 19, That Uppity Theatre Company is partnering with University of Oklahoma to co-produce and perform 26 Pebbles, a new play by acclaimed playwright Eric Ulloa, in five performances in its St. Louis premiere. The play combines live music, singing, and interviews from Newtown residents as they recount the ripples in their community in the wake of the Sandy Hook
Elementary School shooting. While trauma has its role in 26 Pebbles, it is also about how a community banded together to heal and reshape their community in the wake of what is both a local and national tragedy.
"Playwright Eric Ulloa spent months in the community of Newtown following the 2012 tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” said Emily Heugatter, associate professor of Theatre Arts and head of performance at University of Central Oklahoma. “In that time, he learned first-hand of the town’s love, resiliency, and strong sense of community. He has woven the real words of the citizens of Newtown into a beautiful play that celebrates hope in the face of unthinkable tragedy. At such a tense and divisive time in our nation, we have much to learn from these remarkable people and the stories they share in 26 Pebbles.”
The week after the St. Louis productions of 26 Pebbles, author Carol Swartout Klein is traveling to Connecticut to share the story of how art played a role in the aftermath of Ferguson unrest. “Art and stories have always been a means to help society process change, so it is not a surprise to me that both my book and this play have a similar message about communities coming together,” Klein explained. “The play and the art of the Paint for Peace movement provide a unique lens into critical social issues of our time … and the timing of this art exchange between the cities of Newtown and St. Louis shows just how relevant they still are.”
26 Pebbles is presented in partnership with the Missouri Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Painting for Peace in Ferguson.
All performances are free to attend (with a suggested donation). The Tuesday, June 19 performance will include a short panel with Carol Swartout Klein, Joan Lipkin and the performers on how art can help heal a community. In addition to each post-show conversation, Moms Demand Action will be onsite to provide more information. NOTE: the production is suitable for ages 12+ due to subject matter.
Tuesday, June 19, 7:00 PM
First Congregational Church of St. Louis (UCC)
6501 Wydown Blvd
Wednesday, June 20, 7:00 PM
St. Paul United Church of Christ
3510 Giles Avenue
St. Louis, 63116
Thursday, June 21, 7:00 PM
Christ Church Maplewood UCC
2200 Bellevue Ave
Friday, June 22, 7:00 PM
Lafayette Park United Methodist Church
2300 Lafayette Ave
St. Louis, 63104
Saturday, June 23, 2:00 PM
Daniel Boone Branch, St. Louis County Library
300 Clarkson Rd.,