Bingo Boyz: Columbine

Amidst the continuing accusations and recriminations in the wake of the Columbine High School shootings, the Lida Project has, with its current production of Bingo Boyz: Columbine, undertaken the difficult task of making sense out of the tragic event.

Silhouette of the two teenage gunmen, back-to-back
Sorting through a mountain of court transcripts, newspaper clippings, and television new reports, along with interviews of students, parents, and police, the theatre company's collaborative ensemble, under the direction of Robin Davies and dramaturgy of Tami Canaday, has gleaned and organized a cohesive series of scenes that provide a non-judgmental, impressionistic view of the many forces that came to a head that fateful April morning just five years ago.

Like the effort of Moises Kaufman's Tectonic Theatre Company with The Laramie Project, which concerned the brutal slaying of Matthew Shepard, the Lida Project has created a production that comes closer to the truth than any of the accounts provided by the corporate-controlled mass media.

On a stage framed by large metal lockers that are echoed in the background, beneath projected images and video of the school and other appropriate graphics and action, and mixed with haunting music reflecting the disassociative and painful proceedings, we are gripped before the lights come up by sirens, klaxons, police radio chatter, and hysterical kids and teachers in the midst of that terrible siege.

Photo of Brian Lewis as Eric Harris and Mike Holzer as Dylan Klebold
Brian Lewis as Eric Harris and
Mike Holzer as Dylan Klebold
Brian Lewis and Mike Holzer are mesmerizing as the troubled Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They make their characters' transformations from troubled, geeky social outcasts to angry killers wholly believable and, if such a thing is possible, understandable. Unlike media accounts that seek to blame parents or bullying athletes or the rigors of social cliques, the Lida Project's portrayal, like Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine, draws a clear portrait of a society so blindly schizophrenic that it is able to balance a gun-worshipping, violent video-game addicted, materially-obsessed culture with fervent, denial-shrouded cults of so-called Christianity.

Director Davies builds on a five-month collaborative process to seamlessly blend a cast that ranges from professional actors to students at the Denver School of the Arts. The trust among the ensemble is evident in the cohesive performances and their telling choices, providing a context for Harris and Klebold's actions that de-sensationalize the event and re-sensitize us to the common, everyday toxic ingredients that created this explosive recipe.

The Lida Projects Bingo Boyz: Columbine runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm through May 1st. 303-282-0466.

Bob Bows


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