DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - He’s a renowned artist known for his murals and paintings, but now Manny Oliver, who lost his son in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is shining a spotlight on gun violence by taking the stage in a one-man show coming to South Florida.
Oliver spoke to 7News on Monday about the upcoming production of “GUAC: My Son My Hero,” set to open at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach on Sept. 20.
“I didn’t write this. It happened to me,” he said.
Video footage from the show conveys the personal nature of the piece about the loss of his son Joaquin.
“His friends call him ‘Guac,'” he said as he looks at a blown-up picture of his son.
At another point in the show, Oliver described his son’s funeral.
“He was surrounded by flowers, love, music, his family, and he was the most amazing person,” he said.
Gun violence seems to follow Oliver, who was in El Paso, Texas, on the day 22 people were shot and killed at a local Walmart.
“It was so close to where we were, but it’s not something that we don’t know could happen anytime, in any place,” he said.
During his performance, Oliver will paint the picture of Joaquin and tell the story of his life, a life that, he said, ended way too soon.
“In the United States, 100 people die per day because of gun violence. Someone was just shot down; every 15 minutes, someone dies,” he said during the show.
“It’s about bringing a real story that could happen to any American family,” said Oliver.
But the artist said he also wants audiences to leave the auditorium motivated.
“It’s not about a group of people watching us fixing this. It’s more about a group of people getting involved with us along with us, along with Joaquin,” he said.
“Raise both hands if you think that should be part of Joaquin’s fight,” he asked an audience at a performance of the show.
Every theatergoer within the camera’s range raised their hands.
All funds raised from every performance of “GUAC: My Son My Hero” will go toward the Change the Ref organization.
Tickets for the show start at $35. For more information, call 800-211-1414 or click here.
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