|Karl Miller, class of 2001, plays Eric Harris (right) as he videotapes classmate Dylan Klebold in a scene from columbinus, playing now at the New York Theater Workshop.|
The United States Theatre Project and its actors, including Miller in one of the lead roles, received a solid review of the play columbinus, making the front page of the arts section of Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times following the play’s opening at the New York Theater Workshop a day earlier. Nothing less should have been expected considering the critically acclaimed play’s success since its 2005 opening with shows at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., and the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska.
With text by Stephen Karam and P.J. Paparelli, conception and direction by Paparelli and dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch, columbinus is predictably focused on the tragic events that sparked the unforgettable April 1999 massacre of 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Miller is one of just eight actors in the play, portraying a “freak” who will later assume the role of the murderous Eric Harris, one of the two gunmen on that fateful day.
The opening of the play is based on interviews conducted with high school age students from across the country. The actors establish their identities during the first act, with the interactions amongst them showing varying degrees of popularity. That sets the stage for the violence of the second act in which Harris and Dylan Klebold, alienated in the rigid social hierarchy of a typical American high school, go on a terrible shooting spree before turning their guns on themselves.
columbinus received four Helen Hayes Award nominations, including Best Resident Play and Best Director, Resident Play, and Miller was one of 10 individuals nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play. Helen Hayes Awards are given annually to the top professional theatre productions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. This year, 56 productions in 25 theatres received the 140 nominations.
Miller, a double major in psychology and theatre and dance at Wittenberg, had eight theatre productions to his credit while a student at Wittenberg, including the lead in Moliere’s classic play Tartuffe in 2001. He made his professional debut in October 2001 as Henry Percy in Kit Marlowe at Studio Theatre Secondstage in Washington, D.C. columbinus is one of 17 professional productions already to his credit.
Additionally, Miller is credited with “additional contributions” to columbinus. The show will run through June 11 at the New York Theater Workshop.
- Ryan Maurer
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