By Byrne Harrison
Name: David Lawson
Play: Gloves for Guns
Relationship to play: Playwright
What is your play about?
Gloves for Guns is about two teenagers who shot up their high school and killed themselves. They now find themselves in a mysterious afterlife with just a baseball, a baseball glove and a portal that shows them the world's reaction to their actions.
What inspired you to write it?
The recent rash of school shootings in the past 15 years. While they did occur before, the school shooting has become a phenomenon within my lifetime. I'm often amazed at how many of the perpetrators of these shootings are just like people I knew growing up...and a lot of them are even like me.
Tell me a little bit about your cast and crew.
Ryan Rinkel and Danny Tenzer are two wonderful, fresh-faced actors who just graduated from Marymount Manhattan University here in NYC. Michael Padden has been David Cromer's go-to assistant director the past few years. They've all done wonderful work.
What inspired you to be part of the Dream Up Festival?
When I moved to New York City, I wrote out a list of theatres I wanted to work at in New York City. Theater for the New City was near the top of that list. To have a world premiere at a theatre that has produced world premieres from great dramatists like Sam Shepard, Moises Kaufman, Peter Schumann, Gao Xingjian... it's an honor.
What do you want your audience to take away from Gloves for Guns?
In Errol Morris' excellent documentary "The Fog of War," Robert S. McNamara's #1 rule of war is "empathize with your enemy." Gloves for Guns is about trying to empathize with two people who have done something absolutely awful. I would love people to walk away from Gloves willing to empathize with the various enemies in their lives. Not to stop fighting them, not that, just try to empathize with them. Try to understand what their enemy wants. And perhaps, even some who see the play will realize THEY might be someone else's enemy (some might say we are all someone else's enemy) and realize that THEY need to change their approach to get what they want.
What is next for both of you after Dream Up?
I am developing a play called Thanks for Traveling that I hope to produce in the coming months. It's about two engaged airport security workers who lose their jobs (and thus, their wedding) when a hijackers passes through their security checkpoint, yet over time they begin to doubt the official story of the hijacking. Ryan and Danny will be back auditioning (cast them!!!) and Michael will be back working with David Cromer.
You've created a particular vision of the afterlife for Gloves for Guns. Do you think there is an afterlife, and what do you think it will be like?
My three biggest wishes for the actual afterlife is that (1) All questions will be answered (even silly ones like "How many times did I tie my shoes?" or "How much total money in spare change did I find throughout my life?"), (2) There will be a highlight reel I'll get to watch, and (3) I'll be able to see all the people I loved back here. But in all reality... it probably is just a good, long, sleep.
Gloves for Guns
Written by David Lawson
Directed by Michael Padden
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets
Sunday- August 8 - 5pm
Sunday- August 15 - 7pm
Tickets ($12) are available online at www.theaterforthenewcity.net or by calling 866-811-4111.