‘The Gun Show’ Takes To the Stage Monday

Andrew Smith

WHEELING — Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre in Wheeling will host a one-night-only performance of Quantum Theatre’s rendition of EM Lewis’ timely and topical play “The Gun Show (Can we talk about this?)” at 8 p.m. Monday.

“The Gun Show (Can we talk about this?)” is a thoughtful, one-man play excavating the playwright’s own complicated relationship to gun culture. While proponents on both sides talk past each other, making it seem like there is no one with conflicting feelings on the subject, “The Gun Show (Can we talk about this?)” explores the many nuanced considerations in that narrative dominated by political sound bytes and simple solutions.

Playwright EM Lewis shares five personal stories about her own varied experiences with guns, told by a single actor. The writer hopes that the power of personal storytelling can unite people of differing experiences, backgrounds and opinions. Noting that proponents of positions right and left on the subject of guns talk past each other, with unassailable certitude pulling equally on their ends of the rope, Lewis set out to bridge their divide. The story does not come from the right or left.

The play is written for a male actor to represent Lewis and her stories. Quantum’s show stars Pittsburgh actor Andrew Smith, who premiered the role in New York’s Women in Theatre Festival with Project Y Theatre Company. Sheila McKenna, a Post-Gazette Performer of the Year, directs the play.

In addition to the Wheeling performance, Quantum is staging the play at venues in three very different Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

“The Gun Show (Can we talk about this?)” runs approximately 60 minutes with no intermission. Every performance will be followed by a 15-minute facilitated conversation.

Now in its 28th season, Quantum Theatre is a company of progressive, professional artists dedicated to producing intimate and sophisticated theatrical experiences in uncommon settings, exploring universal themes of truth, beauty and human relationships in unexpected ways. Quantum Theatre is devoted to eclectic experimentation, staging its works in environmental sites that inspire directors, designers and performers and delight audiences.

A cornerstone of creative life in Wheeling, Towngate brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to create and experience art onstage. Through educational programs, community theater and other live performances, Towngate fosters an appreciation for performing arts, celebrates the essential power of the theater to illuminate our common humanity and serves as an entertainment destination for residents of the Ohio Valley and beyond.

There is no admission fee for the performance at Towngate February 25. Attendees are asked to simply pay what they can. All proceeds collected will support ongoing community theater and performing arts programs at Towngate. No reservations will be taken. Seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The box office opens one hour prior to the show.

For more information, contact Towngate Theatre at 304-233-0820 or visit www.oionline.com

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