26 Pebbles, a new play by Eric Ulloa about the emotional ripples that followed the unthinkable 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, will get its first reading Oct. 25 in a room on the campus of Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT.
The private reading, representing the first time the author will hear his work, will feature some of Ulloa’s fellow performers from Goodspeed’s current production of Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella; Ulloa plays Al in the musical. Taking advantage of so much New York City talent gathered during the 10-week run of the classic show, playing to Dec. 1 at Goodspeed Opera House, Ulloa invited some of his castmates — Mamie Parris, Natalie Hill, Ann Arvia, Victoria Castle, Kevin Vortmann and Greg Roderick — to explore the delicate new play in a cold reading. The docudrama is drawn from interviews with community members who were touched by the tragedy. (Goodspeed is hosting, not producing. 26 Pebbles is in its dawning stages. No director is attached.)
On Dec. 14, 2012, the troubled young man Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 innocent people before taking his own life. “These 26 innocent deaths, like pebbles thrown into a pond, created ripples and vibrations that were felt far beyond the initial rings,” according to Ulloa. “This is the story of those vibrations.”
The actor-playwright added via email, “Horrible things happen every day in our country, but there was something about this tragedy that grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let go. It seemed that there was never a moment for the people of this community to grieve or to just talk out what they were feeling. I went up to Newtown just wanting to hear stories and to give people a chance to unload what they’ve been carrying with them, and what I discovered was that their stories are lessons that we all need to be learning from. I am honored to be the one to use their words to create an evening of powerful theatre.”
Ulloa, a first-generation American with Cuban roots, was born in Miami. He fell in love with the theatre in high school, and earned a degree at the University of Central Florida. He has performed at North Shore Music Theatre, Signature Theatre, Arvada Center, Fulton Opera House, Human Race Theatre Company, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma and elsewhere. As a writer, he is also the librettist of Molly Sweeney and The Boardwalk Boys.