CMU School of Drama

Monday, January 30, 2017

More Than Booth

HowlRound: Part 1: Why Every Theatre in America Should Have an Active Shooter Plan
Real tragedy lies in the fact that out of all of the moments, and milestones that have occurred in American theatres, perhaps the most noteworthy occurred on a spring evening in 1865 during a performance of Our American Cousin. Despite the centuries of breathtaking performances and soul-revealing cultural revolutions that have characterized theatre history, schoolchildren’s first exposure to theatres historically is as the setting for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Between the passage of time and the cringe-worthy, “But how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” jokes, it is easy to relegate the concept of real-life theatre gun violence to a time when horse-and-buggy was the favored mode of transportation.


Delaney Johnson said...

In the fall of 2014 I visited the theatre in which Lincoln was shot and I remember sitting there and thinking... This could have been me. I would have never known that those minutes would be my last. Flash forward to the spring of 2014. I received a call from my brother. The school in which he was an American History teacher had an active shooter when a student brought a rifle on campus to threaten his ex-girlfriend. Fall 2015 and I am in AP Government class huddled behind a barricade of overturned desks as yet another active shooter drill was run at my school, the third that semester. To me it is clear that gun violence and history lay intertwined not only in my life but that of the past as well. in the words of the author "present-day America hardly has the time to process one tragedy involving gun violence before another shooting makes headlines. " which is a sad and true fact. That is why I agree that more shooter threat protection should be enacted at theaters and many other locations. It may not be possible for us to end gun violence today, but there is plenty we can do to protect ourselves moving forward.

Rebecca Meckler said...

I’m honestly shocked that so many places don’t have an active shooter plan. I have a few active shooter drill in high school and though it was horrible that we had to have them, at least the school was trying to be proactive. Theaters should do the same because a bunch of vulnerable people waiting to be entertained could be turned into sitting ducks. Especially in the middle of a show that uses gunfire, that could at first be passed off as part of the show. I also will think twice about the layout of backstage areas because it never occurred to me that the police would not know how to navigate the a theater if they were called. The police are the people who are called to protect and for them to not be able to help simply because of the layout is crazy. I definitely think that more places should adapt an active shooter plan and work with police that way if there is an incident less lives can be lost.