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Play Looks At Bullying and School Violence

Above: The cast of Ion Theater's "Punk Rock," clockwise from bottom: David Ahmadian, Samantha Vesco, Lizzie Morse. Tyler Jones, Ryan Casselman, Samantha Littleford, Benjamin Cole

Aired 2/13/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Claudio Raygoza, executive artistic director, Ion Theatre.

Glenn Paris, producing artistic director, directing "Punk Rock," Ion Theatre.

Samantha Vesco, actor playing Tanya Gleason in "Punk Rock."

David Ahmadian, actor playing Chadwick Meade in "Punk Rock."

Violence in schools is an incredibly sensitive subject in America. The nation is still grieving over the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Gun control has again become a divisive political issue.

So presenting a play set in a school, in which violence becomes a major plot element is something any theatre company has to think long and hard about. Ion Theatre made that decision. It's presenting the British play "Punk Rock," written by playwright and former teacher Simon Stephens. It's a hard-edged exploration of just how bad the pressures in high school can get. The young ensemble cast portrays adolescents dealing with everything from body image issues to pressures from parents to excel in school.

Ion Theatre's production is the west coast premiere of "Punk Rock" and is for mature audiences. It runs through March 9th at Ion, located on 6th Avenue in Hillcrest.

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