Your invitation to civil discourse.
Since Columbine in 1999, the number and frequency of school shootings has climbed to a level many Americans can't tolerate. In 2018, there were four similar incidents before the year was half over.
Not surprisingly, this makes the topic of gun control a pressing one—however, it does not mean that it's easily discussed. At this point in the public discourse, there's no active conversation that is civil and constructive. The result? Two camps with distinct beliefs yelling in riot-like fashion, without compromise or consideration.
Enter The Gun Show. This autobiographical, one-person play, written by E.M. Lewis, takes you through the author's experiences with guns, and the effect they've had on her life. Lewis grew up in rural Oregon and her childhood home had guns; the closest police station was an hour away and the firearms were largely for protection. Lewis considered them tools, just like a hammer or a wrench.
At Verge Theater's showing of the play, actor Mark Kuntz takes you through Lewis's vivid gun-related memories. As the lights dim, Kuntz’s commanding voice invites you into the story. It’s quite a sight to see: a male speaking through a female lens, gradually revealing the distinction. In one scene, Kuntz (i.e., Lewis) recalls an armed robbery that took place during a shift at the local bookstore; the actor's eyes widen as he trembles in the beaming spotlight, so convincing that you might think Kuntz himself was behind that counter staring down the barrel of a "big black gun," just how Lewis remembered it.
Over the course of the play, Kuntz expresses the complexities of Lewis's experiences with guns—positive, negative, and neutral—without taking a particular stance in the topic of gun control. The overall message of this play is: we need to have a conversation.
As Bozemanites, we are surrounded by guns, from hunters and those who carry concealed, to fervent 2nd Amendment advocates and recreational target shooters. But there are also many residents who have never held guns in their lives, and who do not understand others' affinity for them. Our experiences are often at odds—all the more reason for a civil conversation about guns, and the purpose they serve in our community. Staying quiet at a time that calls for active conversation doesn't do anybody any good.
A constructive first step would be attending The Gun Show. There are two screenings left, so book your tickets now.
Friday, September 21, 2018 – 8:00pm
Saturday, September 22, 2018 – 8:00pm
Location: Verge Theater (N. 7th, across from Murdoch's)