The Library will chill audiences, but it will also hook them with a story that is emotional and intriguing.
The play will be performed in the Andreas Theatre in the Performing Arts building Wednesday, April 19, through Saturday, April 22. This will be a Minnesota State University Mankato premiere. Written by Scott Z. Burns, The Library follows Caitlin Gabriel, a sixteen-year-old high school student.
The play takes place following a deadly shooting at her high school that she barely survived. Partly inspired by the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, The Library explores the aftermath of a tragedy and the different ways that people react to it.
The media challenges Caitlin’s recollection of events with conflicting stories from other students and community members. It becomes a challenge of who is right and who is wrong, who is lying and who is telling the truth.
In his author’s notes for The Library, Burns writes, “It is my hope that this play will serve as a first utterance in a much-needed conversation about narrative. It seeks to explore the region between fact and truth and story; where we search for things like justice, understanding, and healing.” The subject of The Library is a dark but relevant one.
Isabella Barberena has taken on the intense character of Caitlin Gabriel. She believes The Library is a crucial story to be telling right now. It fits the place society is in and is scarily relevant.
“It discusses our relationship with media and how easily stories can spiral out of control. Even the smallest detail can be twisted until it’s turned into controversy,” said Barberena.
Caitlin’s character experiences and deals with a lot of intense things in the show. When asked how she handles the depth of the character, Barberena had no trouble replying. The challenge clearly has not shaken her and she is taking it in stride
“Caitlyn is certainly going through some things I haven’t experienced myself. I had to do quite a bit of research to familiarize myself with symptoms adolescents might experience after trauma,” she said.
She finds she can relate most to the teenage girl underneath the trauma. “The grief, the confusion, the desperation to be understood and to seem strong…those are feelings we all have to go through at some point. That’s just a part of being human.”
Barberena hopes that audiences will see and understand the story and how its message can be applied to our society. She said, “Hopefully people will see this show as more than just the aftermath of a school shooting and make some effort to really think about the media they consume and whether it’s credible or not.”
The Library opens Wednesday, April 19, and runs through Saturday, April 22. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts box office from 4 to 6 p.m. through the week, or an hour prior to each show. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for current MNSU students.