New play centered on shooting at UCC sparks outrage - KPTV - FOX 12

New play centered on shooting at UCC sparks outrage

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A new work from playwright Ginger Dayle intersperses scenes from a speech given by Robert Kennedy in Roseburg in 1968 with scenes based on the shooting at Umpqua Community College in October of 2015. (courtesy Ginger Dayle) A new work from playwright Ginger Dayle intersperses scenes from a speech given by Robert Kennedy in Roseburg in 1968 with scenes based on the shooting at Umpqua Community College in October of 2015. (courtesy Ginger Dayle)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A playwright in Philadelphia is taking a lot of heat over a play that’s now on stage called “Roseburg.”

The play was written in part about the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College last October, where nine people were killed and many others were hurt.

A lot of people in the Roseburg area are very upset over the creation and have started an online petition to try and ban the play, calling it “disgusting.”

Nearly 1,800 people have supported that petition in just the last day, including one person claiming to be one of the people shot that day, who questioned how the author was “going to pull off a play” and asked how their wounds could heal, “when they're constantly ripped open.”

Playwright Ginger Dayle is defending the work, though, telling FOX 12 Tuesday her original focus was Robert Kennedy and the speech he delivered in Roseburg on May 27, 1968, on gun control.

She was researching his presidential campaign when the gunman opened fire at UCC in October.

“I realized there’s a story there,” she said by phone. “You have this same small town, which could be any town in America, and you have something that happened in 1968 and then 47 and a half years later you have a shooting happening and it’s like, ‘What has really changed with gun control?’ And not very much.”

Dayle said it was never her intent to hurt or offend anyone or to exploit what happened.

She said she has gotten a slew of hateful messages and several death threats for writing the play, but says she’s also gotten some positive messages, even some from people in Roseburg who support what she’s doing.

“A number of people from the theater community there and even from the community college have contacted me and said ‘Thank you so much, I don’t want to brush this under the rug, I want to heal and move on, but I don’t want to allow it to happen again,’” Dale said.

She said art can be very healing and hopes that is the case here. She added that people can ignore the play if it’s too much for them to handle.

Currently, the play is on stage in Philadelphia, but dale said she has plans to bring it to Washington, DC and potentially Broadway or the Eastern seaboard.

There are no plans to bring the production to Oregon at this time.

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