PINE CITY, Minn. - The drama that will unfold inside Pine City High School on Friday isn't real, but the subject matter will raise very real questions and emotions about a timely subject.
"The play is called 'First Person Shooter'," said Genoa Gregg, a Pine City junior. "(In the opening scene) the stage goes completely black and you hear two gunshots and screams and then the lights come back up and Charlie is sitting in a jail cell."
Gregg first discovered the one-act play back in December, while searching for the next production she and her classmates would perform for contests. Despite the subject matter, she says the story the play tells is focused more on what led up to the violence.
"It's about a high school boy named Charlie who gets bullied throughout his whole life," Gregg said.
The play explores how Charilie's friend, classmates and mother saw troubling signs, but failed to act before a tragedy unfolded.
"It sure caught my eye," said principal Troy Anderson.
The school approved the play for contests earlier this year along with a performance for students. After the shooting in Parkland Florida, Principal Anderson said they put the performance on hold for a couple of weeks.
Anderson says they ultimately decided to schedule the play for Friday, but they screened it for teachers first and sent a message to parents offering a way for students to opt out.
"When I asked our counselor I think it was just one (student who opted out) and mostly we've received very positive feedback from parents," Anderson said.
Teachers and counselors will also seek feedback from students immediately after the play.
"Every rehearsal we all sit in a big circle as a group and we talk about all these school shootings that have happened," Gregg said. "And how every single one of them is a different story, so I think we just really want to get the message across."