Healing On Stage -- Virginia Tech, Tragedy, and Theatre
Though nearly three days have passed since the shooting spree that left thirty-three Virginia Tech students dead and dozens more wounded, the international news media still crowd this quiet South-Western Virginia town. The presence of inquisitive reporters, intrusive cameras, and incessant media speculation do little to help speed the healing process. Life can not return to normal in Blacksburg, not for months - perhaps years; but the process of grieving, healing, and moving on has already begun. Within the media spotlight or in the dignity of anonymity, the New River Valley is trying to climb back to its feet.
Sadly, the process will not be an easy one. Today's publication of the spree-shooter's manifesto highlights the enormity of the task before this mountain community. Based, at least in part, upon the contents of the shooter's statements, police authorities have requested that "[local] schools... remain closed for the remainder of the week." The ensuing snow-day-like-scramble for child-care amidst clear and warm April sunshine serves as an unwelcome reminder of events which will not soon be forgotten.
Yet in some ways the community is moving on. Restaurants are once again opening their doors and seating patrons. Offices and businesses return to work, and on Thursday evening, a local theatre group will open its spring season with How To Eat Like A Child, a comical play on the innocence and eccentricities of youth. Though the light hearted antics of How To Eat might seem surreal against the backdrop of horror this week as brought to Virginia Tech, the musical is already lifting spirits.