2’S REVIEW: “BULLETPROOF BACKPACK” DELIVERS STARK PORTRAYAL OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Impactful, spine tingling, and significant are feelings that Bulletproof Backpack leave you with as the stage goes dark at the end of the performance.

I can’t think of the last show I’ve seen that left the audience so speechless that at times you could hear a pin drop in the Florida Repertory Theatre.

This is a thought-provoking show I would strongly urge parents, grandparents and students to get tickets to see.

The world premiere show by Eric Coble opened Wednesday night under the direction of Kody C. Jones to a sold out ,socially distanced crowd.

High School Senior Cloe, played brilliantly and emotionally by Danica Murray, accidentally sees a list of names that another student in her class is compiling on his computer screen called the “It List”.

The quiet unassuming student catches Cloe peering at his screen and switches it back to their assignment screen.

Cloe is unnerved by some of the names she recognizes on the list and immediately begins questioning what it could be

Could it be a hit list of students he plans to kill? Could it be a list of people he wishes were his friend? Could the It List be some of the schools most popular people?

These questions swirl around Cloe’s mind before she calls on her friend Yasmin played perfectly by Actress Tatum Bates for advice. Yasman then Facetimes her protective boyfriend Troy played by Actor Wedler Lordeus who brings his needed comedic relief throughout the show.

Before you know it an entire group of friends hear about the list as word spreads creating concern and even panic for friends like Nervous Nikki performed by the exceptionally talented Elizabeth Fletham the class brain who is the class brain that can’t wait to ace a test the next day.

All of the students spill out their raw emotions about what should be done. Do they report it and possibly ruin a young man’s life or do they take their chances.

It’s a drill they’ve practiced for since they were in kindergarten but will it get reported or overlooked before it’s too late?

Could the students arrive in class the next morning facing bullets and terror?

I suggest you grab a friend and buy a ticket to find out how the mind numbing social project conclusion ends.

I say a friend because you’ll want to talk about what you saw on stage after you begin processing it on the way home as my family and I did.

Bulletproof Backpack was created as a platform for students to research, discuss and interview the topic of gun violence and inspired by the Parkland Florida shooting that left 17 students dead.

Thanks to Coble and Jones the show did exactly what it was meant to.

The talents of actors Macy Magas, Keehnon J. Jackson, Bryce Hagen, Violet Mann and Cantrella Canady were phenomenal, convincing and perceptible.

If you’re in the mood for pure raw theater at its best I strongly suggest seeing this moving show that many have you rethinking the topic that has been discussed for far too long.

The show runs through Sunday and tickets are available online and by calling the box office at 239-219-1551 or FloridaRepEducation.org

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