Natural Shocks by Lauren Gunderson 

April 20, 2018 7:30pm at The Slate Theater

The Fern Shakespeare Company Presents Lauren Gunderson's Natural Shocks

The Season of Pursuit continues with The Pursuit of Activism!

The Fern Shakespeare Company at The Slate Theater is participating in a National Campaign of Theater Activism Against Gun Violence led by playwright Lauren Gunderson by staging a reading of her new play Natural Shocks.

On April 20, participating theaters and artists across the nation will be doing readings of her new one-woman play NATURAL SHOCKS royalty-free. As of early April there are 80 readings in 38 states planned! That specific date marks the 19th anniversary of Columbine and the day of the National School Walkout. 

ALL PROCEEDS from The Fern Shakespeare Company's reading will go to Everytown for Gun Safety & The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse.

NATURAL SHOCKS is a new, unpublished play by Lauren Gunderson.

If her name sounds familiar, it is because American Theatre Magazine calculated that she is the most produced playwright in America in the 2017-2018 season. (Last year, she came in second behind August Wilson.) Gunderson has a knack for writing plays that fit well in communities across America, and Natural Shocks is no exception, with the one character SHE described as “probably 40 years old, maybe younger, maybe older” and can be “any race, from any region, with any accent.”  

Natural Shocks is a classic Gunderson play: funny, inspired by Shakespeare (in this case, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech), featuring a richly-drawn female character, and with an unexpected ending that will stay with you long after you leave the theater. It also happens to be completely of-the-moment, with a storyline all too familiar in 2018: one that is inescapably intertwined with gun violence. In fact, she finished the first draft of the script only two weeks before the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So when that tragic shooting hit the news on Valentine’s Day, she knew she wanted to use the play to drive awareness, conversation and, ultimately, action.

“I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened in 1999 and it spurred me into activism instantly,” Gunderson said. “I was 17, a teenager like all those amazing kids in Parkland who are taking up the cause of their lost classmates and making the biggest difference in this issue I've seen in my lifetime.”  

It is also not lost on Gunderson that many of the Parkland activists that have emerged to lead the #NeverAgain movement are theatre kids. “Nineteen years later, here we are, another school shooting, but finally a freshly invigorated and seemingly unstoppable movement brewing. Use this play to start conversations, to build networks of support, to gather people and give them some place to go to congregate and say enough. We are the undeniable force of nature that will light up this darkness and change it forever.”

Based on Hamlet’s “To be or not to be,” NATURAL SHOCKS is a 65-minute, one-woman tour-de-force play that bursts to life when we meet a woman waiting out an imminent tornado in her basement. She overflows with quirks, stories, and a final secret that puts the reality of guns in American in your very lap. The play is part confessional, part stand up, and part reckoning. 

The Organizations:

Everytown for Gun Safety: Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives. Website:

The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse: The NW Network increases their communities’ ability to support the self-determination and safety of bisexual, transgender, lesbian and gay survivors of abuse through education, organizing and advocacy. They work within a broad liberation movement dedicated to social and economic justice, equality and respect for all people and the creation of loving, inclusive and accountable communities. Website:

For more details about the nationwide theater activism campaign, please visit
#nationalschoolwalkout #NaturalShocksFernShakes #NaturalShocks #artmatters @LaLaTellsAStory  

Producers of the nationwide event are Leah Hamos, theatrical agent at The Gersh Agency, Corinne Hayoun, Head of the NY office of MANAGE-MENT, and Christina Wallace, Tech entrepreneur, arts producer, and political organizer.

How To Get To The Slate

The Slate Theatre, 815 Seattle Blvd S, Inside the Inscape Arts building (The Old Immigration Building)

There is Parking behind the building, parking on/near 6th Street, and is accessible by Public Transit.


Before heading to The Slate, check this link about an hour or so before heading down to the theater. It shows where the open parking garages/spaces are. You can filter at the bottom by garages or spaces.  

Additionally, there is street parking along 6th and some paid lots down 6th. 

The closest paid lot is less than a block from the theater -- it is a Diamond Lot and there is a sign that says "PEI" and the prices are $5 in the evenings.  There is another one on the other side of that building and another lot across the street from that lot.

If you park in one of those lots on 6th, just head up the street, turn on Seattle Blvd and you'll be at the Inscape Arts Center in no time!

This is a very rudimentary map of were some of the lots and street parking are. Most are down 6th and are just a block or two from the Inscape Arts Building (where the theatre is).