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BWW Previews: ORIGINAL PRODUCTION ON BULLYING, GUN VIOLENCE AND AFTERMATH DEBUTING IN JANUARY at Straz Center For The Performing Arts' TECO Theatre


A Necessary Conversation, an original theatre production merging two plays dealing with bullying, gun violence and its aftermath will be on stage in the Straz Center for the Performing Art's TECO Theatre on January 20, 2018.

Written by Peter Nason and Deborah Bostock-Kelley, A Necessary Conversation features two poignant short plays that debuted in 2017 to stellar reviews and positive audience response - Nason's 47 Reasons to Live at the Tampa Fringe Festival and Bostock-Kelley's 11:11 at Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. His tells the tale of the inner workings of a potential school shooter and hers explores the survivors left behind.

After seeing each other's production, Deborah and Peter realized the messages they were writing about were perfect bookends for one another.

"In 47 Reasons to Live, the main character James Caldwell Mack is a troubled teen, to put it mildly. He is fond of SpongeBob, super sour gummy worms, serial killers and the Columbine shooters," explained Nason. "Two teachers find themselves in a tug-of-war match over James' soul. Will the boy become the next Charles Dickens... or the next Charles Manson?"

In Bostock-Kelley's 11:11, the play examines how mothers in a grief support group attempt to put on the façade of a normal life after experiencing a parent's worst nightmare - the traumatic and violent loss of a child.

"Now more than ever, we need to have this dialogue," she said. "Cyber bullying, compounded by gun violence, is an epidemic. You just need to turn on the tv to learn about another in this series of senseless tragedies. When is the next one too many? How many more hashtag-names-strong or hashtag-prayers-for-fill-in-the-blank do we need before someone says no more?"

In August 2017, Bostock-Kelley submitted an application and applied for a grant and the opportunity to fund their theatre project. In September 2017, she was honored to be one of two recipients awarded Theatre Tampa Bay's Jeff Norton Dream Grant. She reached out to the Straz Center with their concept and the venue graciously helped make their vision a reality.

A Necessary Conversation features two performances, 3pm and 7pm. The evening show includes a question and answer talkback panel following the production. The panel includes Robert Allen, a father who recently lost his bullied son to suicide; Freddy Barton, Safe and Sound Hillsborough, an organization founded in 2013 to address violence in the family, school, or neighborhood; Wendy Malloy, Tampa volunteer lead, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and other expert speakers still to be identified.

Everytown- Moms Demand Action, Tampa Chapter is the community partner and the recipient of ticket sales of the evening show.

A Necessary Conversation will be presented at TECO Theatre January 20. Performances are 3pm and 7pm. The evening show includes question and answer talk-back panel. Tickets for day show are $15 and evening show with talkback are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at www.life-amplified.ticketleap.com/anecessaryconversation012018


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Previews: LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! at Hillsborough High School Theater Photo
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Review: THE NIGHT BEFORE is the Perfect Gift at FreeFall Theatre Company Photo
Allow me if you will a little indulgence as I set the scene. The year is 2020, the Global Pandemic that has riddled the world, and the country as we know it to shutter/ shelter in place. Like many Performing Arts Organizations, the folks at freeFall Theatre, known for their motto “Just escape awhile...” and their inventive way of producing live theatre, was struggling to find the best outlet to keep producing, while safely doing so for both performers and patrons alike. Producing Artistic Director Eric Davis and Director Matthew McGee began discussions about how to safely produce a Christmas Show that was full on Christmas versus just taking place around Christmas. In the past freeFall has produced works such as Peter & The Starcatcher, and The Lion in Winter that work for Christmas shows, but are not necessarily Christmas shows. They have also in the past produced A Christmas Carol, but being inventive, Eric Davis and company wanted to shake things up a little, and if any theatre is well known for doing just that, its freeFall. So you can say the show itself was born out of a challenge, and freeFall delivered ten-fold. The Night Before was such a hit, freeFall decided to bring it back this season for the second year in a row, with some new adaptations and new characters.

Review: THE ROAD TO HELL IS A BEAUTIFUL RELEVANT JOURNEY WITH HADESTOWN at Straz Center Fo Photo
Yes, the Holiday Season is once again upon us. Time for merriment, gathering with friends, family, chosen family, and what have you to enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the food of the season. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of the times, the Straz Center’s Carol Morsani Hall brings a different fable and tale of love, hope, and the courage to survive against all odds to its patrons following the close of Thanksgiving weekend, and ushering in the first week of December. Unlike Ghosts of both Past, and Present, patrons of the Straz Center are plunged head-first into a dark tale based on figures found in Greek Mythology, and the tale itself seems all too relevant and perfectly placed in our current climate. The Broadway Smash Hadestown takes the stage by storm and leaves no prisoners in its wake. I for one am thankful for this time, the time to sit in a sacred space and experience the undeniably beautiful event that is live theatre, and the Straz Center is the Gift that keeps on giving, not only during the holiday season but all year long. Their 2022/2023 Bank of America Broadway Season is one of the absolute best yet!


From This Author - Deborah Bostock-Kelley

A twice-published author, multi-time award-winning playwright, magazine writer, theatre reviewer, and newspaper journalist with 30+ years in journalism and business copywriting, Deb was a 2019 Reci... (read more about this author)


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