“American Roulette” to start dialogue about school violence, bullying


Caitlyn Aakre

Seeing your own child “in” the news about a school shooting inspired one CMR teacher to take action.

“I wrote [“American Roulette”] after the Springfield, Ore. shooting,” drama teacher Chris Evans said. Evans, the writer as well as the director of CMR’s spring play entitled “American Roulette,” watched his two and a half year-old son sit in front of the television at an angle that looked like he was part of the coverage.

“I saw the grief. I saw the fear,” he said. Evans was prompted to write the play with his friend Fred Hendricks because they felt it was something considered a “taboo” and needed to be talked about.

The play is a tale of what happens within 24 hours of a high school shooting. It follows a group of people from different walks of life and how they deal with the obstacles presented to them.

“He’s a pot-smoking, laid-back guy obsessed with Jan Brady,” junior Drew Storrusten said of his character, Alan “Bonzai” Holmes. His character demonstrates how to smoke marijuana in the morning while watching morning cartoons. He’s the perfect example of how the play won’t sugar-coat what teenagers actually do and deal with.

“Kids smoke pot,” Evans said. He also said that the play explores bullying and taunting.

“Everybody knows it’s there, but nobody wants to talk about it,” he said.

The play also explores real relationships between siblings.

“She basically slams on her sister. [She] detests the fact that [Megan] claims she’s perfect,” junior Sam Shie said about her character, Ali, the younger sister of the seemingly perfect cheerleader.

“Roulette” is the perfect mix of emotion and heart and will spark conversation about school violence.

“Will it stop school shootings worldwide? No,” Evans said. He’s confident, though, that it will open conversation up to problems students are facing today and to help them know they can talk to somebody.

“One of the purposes of this play is to begin a dialogue. If we can get a student who is down or depressed [and] let them know they aren’t alone,” he said.

“This is the heaviest thing [actors] will have done in their career here,” Evans said.

“American Roulette” will be performed in Bill Will Hall on March 17 -19. Curtain call 7:30p.m.