Art has always been an outlet for society to express themselves. Whether it be the oppressed or the oppressors, art is a vehicle that is used to affect change and affect perception of events.
“The Gun Show” is a new work that points the barrel of criticism at gun rights in America and takes a stance in the middle of the isle.
This one man show by playwright EM Lewis both highlights the importance of having guns in society but also bring to light the serious concerns around the gun control debate.
Using her unique experience of growing up in a small Oregon town and her time living in the big cities of LA and New York, Lewis brings to light the ideas that guns can provide protection and that large populations of the country are properly trained and respect guns. Lewis also shares stories about the dangerous and violent side of guns.
“The Gun Show” is, at it’s core, a work of storytelling. The show is told from Lewis’ perspective and from Lewis’ voice. She is sharing her personal experiences with the audience.
In this production Lewis is portrayed by local actor Mark Collins. Collins does a truly delightful job telling these stories. He is able to bring different emotions and shift his emotions on cue creating an immersive experience for the audience.
The decision to have a male actor as the ‘Playwright’ did cause some confusion throughout the show. Although it was clearly stated by Lewis early on in the show not to think too much into the decision of having herself played by a man. It did bring some unnecessary confusion to the show. There were moments when the audience needed to remind themselves that Collins is playing a women. The choice distracted from the main point of the show, guns, and the stories that go along with them.
AND TOTO TOO Theatre Company has developed a reputation of producing new work by women playwrights and “The Gun Show” is a nice and thoughtful addition to that list.
Whether you support gun rights or you feel that there should be more legislation around guns, you can enjoy and appreciate the stories that “The Gun Show” brings to light.
“The Gun Show” **½ (out of four stars)
“The Gun Show” now playing at The Commons on Champa in The Studio at 1245 Champa Street. Directed by Susan Lyles. Starring: Mark Collins. Through April 29. For tickets visit www.andtototoo.org.