November 6 at 7:30 pm
Stageworks Theatre, Tampa
It’s no mean feat to make a lunch date with Georgia Mallory Guy. Actor, director, voice teacher, acting and vocal coach, freeFall Theatre’s grant writer, founding Producing Artistic Director of ThinkTank Theatre for Young Audiences – Mallory Guy multitasks with admirable organizational skill, not to mention abundant talent and energy.
Throw into the mix of scheduling challenges her commute between Tampa Bay and her family home in New Jersey, which she shares with spouse Traveis Guy and assorted pets. Mallory Guy estimates completing no fewer than eight roundtrips yearly. And she doesn’t slack off while up north—she’s currently an adjunct professor at Centenary University in Hackettstown NJ.
Nevertheless, I managed to meet up with ‘Miss Georgia,’ as her students know her, long enough to query her on projects past and upcoming. Fresh from directing the ThinkTank/Tampa Rep coproduction of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which featured a number of ThinkTank’s Young Artists’ Ensemble members, Mallory Guy is now gearing up to present an evening of play readings focused on an issue with life-and-death import for America’s youth – gun violence.
According to a Technical Report by the American Academy of Pediatrics dated November 28, 2022, “Firearms are the leading cause of death in children and youth 0 to 24 years of age in the United States.”
As a means of grappling with this chilling reality, ThinkTank will participate in the national performance event, Enough! Nationwide Reading of Plays to End Gun Violence. On November 6, in company with over 60 schools, theatres, faith and community groups from Honolulu to Buffalo, ThinkTank hosts a reading of six short plays written by teens 13 to 19 years of age about their experiences around gun violence, which functions as the prompt for the creation of these original works.
Mallory Guy learned of the Enough! Nationwide Reading through TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences)/USA and is presenting for the second year in a row. With Enough!’s emphasis on channeling personal experience through playwriting and acting, the fit with ThinkTank, whose principal personnel are young people drawn to the unique means of expression theatre provides, is natural.
Mallory Guy responded as well to Enough’s approach to the subject matter, prioritizing as it does the responsibility inherent in gun ownership. Traveis Guy is assigned to New Jersey as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is, of necessity, in possession of firearms at all times.
Herself living in a home where weapons are present, Mallory Guy is keenly aware of the vigilance required in handling and storing firearms according to the safest possible practices. When children are present in a gun-owning household, the need for extreme care takes on paramount importance.
Enough! is also robustly engaged in supporting the development of young theatre artists. Student playwrights are often inspired to submit their works by teachers who know about the project courtesy of theatres like ThinkTank—according to Mallory Guy, “We have a mailing list of teachers from around the country, and we send information about how students can get involved.”
Enough! provides clear guidelines and a generous supply of playwriting resources. And all of this is provided for free to students and to theatres.
Besides the Nationwide Reading and publication of their work, this year’s playwrights will be awarded a $500 stipend by Change the Ref, the organization founded by Manuel and Patricia Oliver to honor their son Joaquin, murdered at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
The date chosen for the event carries its own significance. In 2020 it was December 14, for Sandy Hook School, and no event was held in 2021. Last year, the readings took place on April 20, 23 years to the day from the 15 shooting deaths at Columbine High School, when Mallory Guy was herself a high school senior.
This year’s date looks into the future, marking exactly one year from the 2024 national election. The curtain rises on the Enough! Nationwide Reading at Stageworks in Tampa at 7:30 pm on November 6, 2023.
ThinkTank’s website suggests an age of 10+ and notes “some adult themes and mature language.” The professional cast includes Mallory Guy and Ned Averill-Snell alongside a number of ThinkTank’s Young Artists’ Ensemble members, with Creative Pinellas 2023 Emerging Artist Patrick Arthur Jackson directing.
A community discussion moderated by Freddy Barton, Executive Director of Safe & Sound Hillsborough, will follow. There is no charge to attend, but suggested donations will go to a local organization yet to be determined at the time of publication. Reservations are encouraged.
And what will Mallory Guy do next? You don’t have to wait long to find out – catch her performing American Stage’s “theatrical journey into the unknown,” White Rabbit Red Rabbit, November 9 at St. Petersburg’s Historic Bethel AME Church.
That’s just before she jumps into rehearsals for the ThinkTank production of Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters, opening in January 2024. If you’d like to make a lunch date of your own with Georgia Mallory Guy, it’s a good idea to call ahead.
Enough! Plays to End Gun Violence
Presented by ThinkTank TYA
November 6 at 7:30 pm
1120 E Kennedy Blvd
Tampa FL 33602
Donations and reservations encouraged.
Running time 60-70 minutes with discussion to follow.