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Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 03/ 9/2005

A Very, Very Mad World


It's not easy to get in the mood for a play about the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. But if you can manage it, head to the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring to check out "columbinus."

I saw it Monday night and many of its emotionally charged moments are still with me. Director PJ Paparelli (also behind the Folger Theatre's recent staging of "Romeo and Juliet") has a flair for creating visually haunting drama. A particularly memorable sequence -- set to the tune of Gary Jules's cover of "Mad World" from the movie "Donnie Darko" -- does a wrenching job of illustrating how teens often succumb to society's labels. In fact, much of the play has a cinematic feel to it, thanks to the brilliant use of music (the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" also figures prominently) and lighting.

Admittedly, it's a bit strange to watch a play about two boys who committed an atrocious act at least partly to gain attention. But "columbinus" is staged so intelligently that watching doesn't feel like rubbernecking. The first act, which doesn't specifically deal with Columbine, even elicits a number of laughs. That second part, however, is incredibly intense. The dialogue also contains quite a bit of profanity; even so, I think this is one that parents and teens would benefit from seeing together. Just make sure to book some time to get coffee or a bite to eat afterward. You'll have plenty to talk about.

-- Jen

By  | March 9, 2005; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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I loved the play too. I'm trying to remember the other song in the play - was it REM?

Posted by: mike | April 2, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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