Virginia Tech Creative Writing
He wears a hoodie pulled down tight around his head, he wears dark glasses, he sits in the back of the classroom, he never says a word, won’t answer questions.
Not just about the shooting itself, or school shootings in general, but “also shine a light on what it mean that the shooter was Asian-American.” Years passed, but each new shooting kept the issue fresh in Cho’s mind, and eventually, an essay by a professor who had to deal with a similarly troubled student prompted Cho to begin writing what would eventually become .In the aftermath of the massacre, the professor talked about how Cho’s writing caused many students to drop a poetry class, and others wrestled in news articles and essays with the right approach for handling a worrisome or even frightening student.It was in reading one of those essays that Julia Cho’s new play about school shootings began to coalesce.This kid is bad news.” Early in the script, several professors gather to discuss the student. “I mean, that’s not really what we’re talking about, is it? On the first day of rehearsals, Julia Cho told her actors the play they were about to begin working on wasn’t about the Virginia Tech shooting. “I didn’t want to come into the first day of rehearsal and start a conversation with the actors and the director where it’s ‘let’s tell a story about mass shootings or why they happen or how they happen,’” said Cho in an interview.“I mean, I think that’s obviously what the play is about.“It opened this door back to my own experiences teaching in grad school,” she said.“I didn’t have troubling students like that, but I could imagine being a teacher in the higher ed environment -- you do come into contact with students with different needs.” In her play, called it’s unclear whether an unsettling student, to put it mildly, just needs a little help, a lot of help, an empathizing professor or a straitjacket.That in its way the play is about a very particular woman trying to make a connection to a very particular student.” The Play Gina, the instructor in Cho’s play, tries to speak, to connect with Dennis, the student, in her office, for an hour.But isn’t likely to leave the audience with a definitive answer to their questions or a good idea about whether or not Gina made the right move.The play’s script doesn’t specify Dennis’s or Gina’s ethnicity, but both characters are played by Korean-American actors.Sandra Oh, of , plays Gina, and actor Raymond Lee plays Dennis.