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Student Center: University of Utah's Latest Production is Ripped From the Headlines

"Student Commits Suicide After Shooting Spree Kills 16 Classmates." If you saw this headline in tomorrow's newspaper, you'd likely experience several emotions; sadness, anger, frustration, horror and maybe even hatred towards the shooter. We are not strangers to these headlines and we are often left asking ourselves, "Why?"

In The University of Utah Theater Department's  production of Vernon God Little, Vernon's best friend kills 16 of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. Now the small town of Martirio, Texas, turns to Vernon. As the national media storm rages around him, you have to wonder if they seek the truth or simply seek a headline.

"Through its irreverent humor and unflinching honesty, Vernon God Little asks us to examine our response to tragedy, as a nation and as individuals. What part will we play in the calamities and the heartbreak that invade our lives every day?" Director Matthew Toronto goes on to say that "even though this is a very dark subject with hard hitting material, it is a fun show! It's edgy, dark and possibly offensive. But it entertains with its dark, exaggerated style and touches on relevant issues that need to be explored."

In an area where there isn't a lot of hard hitting theater, Vernon God Little promise to explore the media exploitations that often surround those who go through these kinds of tragedies. It is a disjointed roller-coaster ride that is told from Veron's heightened perspective. And if anyone should know and understand a media storm surrounding a tragedy, it is Toronto. Guest directing this production Toronto is a permanent faculty member at Penn State where he witnessed the recent events of the Sandusky Scandal. "The media frenzy throughout the trial and in the aftermath, and the microscopic lens that was placed on our university was, and still is, intense."

Vernon God Little promises to be a show that challenges our own reactions when faced with unimaginable tragedy all the while examining how the media often makes more victims out of an already horrific situation. Set this satire to the tune of country songs, line dancing and right out offensive humor and you will likely experience a night you won't soon forget.

Vernon God Little plays September 21 -30, 2012, at The Babcock Theatre, located at 300 South and University Street (1400 East) in the Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, lower level. Ticket prices are $8-15 and can be obtained by calling 801-581-7100 or online at

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From This Author Megan Pedersen

Megan B. Gutierrez is a member of the American Theater Critics Association and is a theater lover from a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. (read more...)

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