On Stage Los Angeles: 26 Pebbles is Beautifully Staged and Sincerely Presented
Eric Ulloa’s 26 PEBBLES is a thoughtful and tender survey of the community deeply affected by the tragic events of December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jules Aaron directs six actors: Jennifer Lee Laks, Joe Lorenzo, George Villas, Jeanne Kauffman, Michele Schultz and Roselyn Cohn, who, with subtle costume adjustments bring to life nineteen residents of Newtown. One can’t but think of Thornton Wilder’s classic play “Our Town.”
Gabrieal Greigo’s excellent projections combined with elementary chalk board drawings that illustrate the layout of the town and in conclusion, the Hope that the community has for the future.
26 pebbles represent twenty children and six adults who died by gun violence on that fateful day. The allusion is to how the ripples in a still pond expand when even one pebble is dropped. The presentation is straightforward story telling: not always easy to figure out who is who, but, in the end, the gentle polemic is presented with sincerity and love.
It is June, 2013. The time to heal presents itself as Jennifer Lee Laks enters to include the audience, all with appropriate name tags, to discuss coming to grips with such a senseless act. She is an attractive young mom who lays out the groundwork for the many stories that emerged that day, December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children and 6 school workers died. The goal is to simply tell the story, preach to what will undoubtedly be a receptive choir that gun violence is epidemic and that, with a community of reason coming together, that we survive with Hope and Love. We do get a little overly patriotic with the unfurled Stars and Stripes waving majestically across the entire stage at the end. This refers back to the center of Newtown where an imposing flagpole stands. As a symbol of ‘moving on’ the residents of Newtown insist that the flag be restored from half staff to full staff.
Beautifully staged and sincerely presented at Theatre 40.
Sheehan for On Stage Los Angeles
September 21, 2018