Content warning: This review discusses dramatized scenarios of school shootings.
“lockdown.,” a play written and directed by UNC students, highlights the unraveling of student identity and emotion while stuck in a drama classroom during a school shooting.
Junior playwright Gage Tarlton and director and UNC graduate Mckenzie Wilson bring to life the intense spectrum of emotions that accompany a school shooting while also weeding out the nuanced interactions and issues that teenagers deal with today.
While stuck together in a classroom, five theater students and two others, who are locked out of their own classroom, try to keep their fear of death at bay as an ominous intercom intermittently shares updates from the active shooter at their rival high school. What starts as a bunch of seemingly typical high school characters (a bratty girl, gamer boy, Shakespeare-know-it-all) quickly surpasses the Disney-ized roles teens often feel they need to fit.
Heavy conversations about death and shootings are intermixed with themes of race and class struggle between the school’s private counterpart. These differences cause tension between the students at times, but the shooting serves as a universalizing platform for most of the students.