Boston University College of Fine Arts Presents columbinus

in CFA, Theatre
April 24th, 2014

School of Theatre at BU presents a theatrical discussion, a meeting of fact and fiction, sparked by the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School

Boston, MA – The School of Theatre at Boston University College of Fine Arts presents columbinus, a theatrical discussion of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School — May 2–9 at Boston University Theatre.


By the United States Theatre Project
Written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli
Dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch
Conceived by PJ Paparelli
Directed by Clay Hopper
Dates: Friday, May 2nd – Friday, May 9th
Friday, May 2nd, 8pm
Saturday, May 3rd, 8pm
Sunday, May 4th, 2pm
Tuesday, May 6th, 7:30pm (ASL Interpreted and Talk-Back)
Wednesday, May 7th, 7:30pm (ASL Interpreted)
Thursday, May 8th, 7:30pm
Friday, May 9th, 8pm
Venue: Boston University Theatre (264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA)

Box Office: 617.933.8600 or
(Tickets: $12 general public; $10 BU Alumni, WGBH and WBUR members, and Huntington Theatre subscribers; $6 CFA Membership; free with BU ID at the door, day of performance, subject to availability.)

“Last week, Easter Sunday fell on the 15th anniversary of the shootings at Columbine,” said Clay Hopper, director of columbinus. “It was this, along with the sad fact that since its inception, columbinus has only become more timely and relevant that made me feel this play needed to be produced again. Preferably with young people who might be too young to remember the shock and horror of that day, since now such violence has become all too commonplace in our culture.”

Sparked by the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, this meeting of fact and fiction illuminates the realities of adolescent culture by exploring the events surrounding the shootings, with text drawn from interviews, public records, and the shooters’ private diaries. “The play is a beautiful response to that event, one that could only be possible within the medium of the theatre,” continued Hopper.

“In all my experience, I have never worked on a play that gets so deeply inside a literal event that it comes up with something intrinsic about us as humans.”

“A strong current of compassion and a need for understanding courses through it, an understanding that ultimately remains elusive because of the very nature of the event it grapples with,” continued Hopper. “I am constantly amazed at this play’s power and the depth of its compassion when confronted with no easy answers. It’s got a lot of heart. It’s bursting with it.”

Nestled amidst the Rocky Mountains, and a bastion of religious and political conservatism, Columbine, a district in Littleton Colorado, was by all accounts, the perfect community. The population was primarily white and upper-middle class. Columbine High School was well-known for its academic rigor; the student activities and programs were equally impressive.

There was, however, an underbelly to the beast that was noted amongst students of all social groups. Columbine High School was a typical school in terms of social hierarchy; jocks and cheerleaders stood at the top, outcasts at the bottom, leaving a majority of students that fell somewhere in between.

Just as this high school could be anywhere in America, so could the potential for a school shooting. In the days, weeks, and years following, the community, rocked by the shooting, sought an answer, a cause, something on which to blame the tragedy.

“The shooting at Columbine has been one of the most thoroughly researched and written about school shootings in history,” said Clay Hopper, director of columbinus. “Columbine haunts our nation’s consciousness, and despite years of research and some of the most extensive investigations made into a mass shooting, we are still so far from finding a definitive reason why Dylan and Eric did what they did. The play joins the books and plays already written about Columbine, embarking on the same search for answers, trying to glean some understanding from what can only be described as a senseless tragedy.”