The Gun Show challenges left and right extremism on the issue of American gun control, using a series of poignant personal reflections to illustrate the nuanced and multifaceted roles of guns in the United States.
Writer E.M. Lewis artfully positions this drama as truth, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. She explores the very nature of performing a personal narrative by distancing herself from her story, casting herself as a man despite her gender. Male performer Vin Shambry plays her character, and his captivating recollection is disjointed and fractured by interactions with E.M. Lewis who sits in the audience.
The disconnect fostered by Shambry’s gender contradiction has an interesting echo effect, giving a universality to the role. Lewis’s presence in the audience seems to make visible the silenced majority: the centrists who don’t support total gun ban or automatic weapons for all.
Other disconnects are less successful. Shambry parading the script around the audience to prove a pause was intentional or to underline a point seems awkward and hurts the momentum of the story. Furthermore, the stories are addressed to an American audience, littering the story with harmless Americanisms and references to “our country.” These immersive details give way to a careless cultural lapse when multiple jokes about Lewis having a gun on her in the theatre are met with a tense silence.
Detail-rich stories about armed robbery and range romance serve as more gentle, thoughtful reminders of cultural difference. One by one, these stories shed light on Lewis’s complex position on gun control. The show has no specific policy proposal, but it does have 15 minutes of extra time in the venue dedicated to continuing the conversation. These compelling, articulate stories are a great start.
Words: Emily Hall
Picture: Owen Carey
The Gun Show, The Space Triplex, Aug 25-26, 7.40pm