UM Student Club Presents Staged Reading to Combat Gun Violence

April 19, 2018

MISSOULA – The University Players student theater group at the University of Montana will present a staged reading of Lauren Gunderson’s “Natural Shocks” on Monday, April 23.

Gunderson is making the play available royalty-free for staged readings around the country to remember 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, as well as honor the sentiments of the April 20 National School Walkout.

The reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the Masquer Theatre of UM’s Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center. The production is open to the public and will not be ticketed. Donations will be accepted at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. A talkback will be held immediately following the 65-minute reading.

“‘Natural Shocks’ is a 65-minute, one-woman gale force of humor, morbidity, dark whimsy and an eventual truth that will make the audience confront their own perceptions of gun violence in America,” said Genevieve Barlow, a UM graduating senior in theatre and president of the University Players. “Based in part on ‘To be or not to be’ from ‘Hamlet,’ it is a funny, surprising, heart-warming and deeply reflective piece of theater.”

The event is being presented in conjunction with the University Players, Associated Students of UM Dance Club and ASUM Technology & Design Club – the three ASUM clubs sponsored by the School of Theatre & Dance.

Gunderson wanted to share the play with as many Americans as possible as a way to honor the victims of Columbine and to show solidarity with the survivors of Parkland.

“On [or near] April 20th, read [‘Natural Shocks], experience it, use it to raise money for Everytown or Mom's Demand Action,” Gunderson wrote. “Use it to start conversations, to build networks of support, to gather people and give them some place to go to congregate and say ‘enough.’”

For more information about Monday’s Missoula reading, call Barlow at 206-422-6637 or email For more information about the nationwide staged reading project, visit


Contact: Genevieve Barlow, UM student, School of Theatre & Dance, 206-422-6637,