Grant #290

Natural Shocks National Project

April 16, 2018

Using live theater to examine the complex issues of gun ownership and gun safety at this crucial time in the public conversation.

Here’s a fact that even a Jeopardy champ might not know: Lauren Gunderson is America’s most-produced playwright. Never heard of her? Well, not counting Shakespeare and productions of A Christmas Carol, in the 2017-18 theater season, there have been more performances of her plays than anyone else’s(by a wide margin, too). Her work often features complex female protagonists, scientists, storylines inspired by Shakespeare, and various combinations thereof.

In January she sat down and wrote Natural Shocks, a gripping, yet hilarious one woman play about gun violence. Then, on February 14, the gun conversation changed instantly because of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. anniversary of Columbine (and in conjunction with the walk-outs organized by the MDS students for that day).

Based on Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”, Lauren is offering this play royalty-free for anyone who wants to stage a reading the weekend of April 19-23 with all proceeds to be directed to domestic violence and gun violence-related nonprofits. More than 80 readings have been scheduled in 41 states, and the flagship reading will happen in NYC, starring Kathy Najimy– benefitting the Ms. Foundation.

Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help with production costs, printing programs and posters, and all the myriad costs of putting on a show.

Learn more here:

And follow along with Lauren on Twitter:



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders