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‘The Gun Show’ review


EM Lewis 04A play previews tonight in the Foulds Theater inside the Alliance for the Arts. It’s called The Gun Show, and it deserves, nay, demands your attention.

It’s a waste of time, you say? There’s nothing to talk about because, as a strict Constitutionalist, there can be no limits, “no infringements,” placed upon the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

Bullshit, you counter! To reach that conclusion you Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 18must first ignore the dependent clause which talks about a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State. But back then, all able-bodied men between 16 and 60 were required to bear arms. Today, that whole notion is outdated. And just like a horse and buggy has no place on our streets and superhighways, guns no longer have any place in modern American society.

Sandy Hook. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Fort Hood. Pulse Nightclub. Club Blu. Open carry. Campus carry. Removing brandishing a gun from 10-20-Life Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 05mandatory sentences. Universal background checks. Gun show loophole. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. The cacophony of shrill and competing voices is deafening. Positions are polarized and entrenched. No one listens to contrary views, anyway. So what’s the point?

E.M. Lewis knows the arguments on both sides of the Second Amendment/gun control debate. She grew up with guns. Owns guns. In a certain sense, she even loves guns. But that’s not what The Gun Show is all about. Lewis just wants to have someone tell you a Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 09handful of raw, poignant stories about guns based on her own, unique experiences.

Thanks to inspired casting by Theatre Conspiracy Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor, that someone is Miguel Cintron. And he’s perfect in the role. For some 75-minutes, Cintron makes you believe that he is having a conversation with each and every member of the audience. But he doesn’t merely tell you a story. He lays bare the emotions he felt as he fell in love while learning to shoot a shotgun, had an 0ut-of-body experience while being robbed at gunpoint on his 25th birthday as a sales Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 15clerk in a local book store, and slunk away after a New York cop in Penn Station threatened to pistol whip him for the egregious offense of asking him where he could find the platform for the train to New Jersey.

What renders Cintron’s performance so compelling is not that he’s able to tap into and portray a wide range of powerful emotions. It’s that he enables you to experience them for Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 13yourself. You smell the sweat and luxuriate in the feel of his boyfriend’s body as he reaches around and shows you how to cradle your shotgun in your arm as you sight your target. You feel the fear and certainty of death as you fumble to remove the bills from the cash drawer of the register while the crazed lunatic on the other side of the gun grows more and more impatient. You go through the indignation and sense of powerlessness as that cop moves his hand to the butt of his gun as he fobs off your request for directions. You feel Miguel’s gut-Miguel Cintron in The Gun Show 12wrenching pain and crushing loss in the depths of your soul when …. Well, you’ll just have to see the performance if you want to hear that final story that Cintron shares on behalf of and as E.M. Lewis’ surrogate.

There are many reasons on numerous planes that commend this play to you, the theater-goer. Any solo show is an incredible feat due to the demands it places on the actor. Tera Nicole Miller astounded us playing multiple roles in last year’s Theatre Conspiracy production of The Amish Project. Bonnie Knapp turned in a stellar performance as Hollywood super-agent Sue Mengers in Lab Theater’s summer stock show, I’ll Eat You Last. AMiguel Cintron in The Gun Show 14nd Ken Bryant was imposing in his Patrick Stewart-esque performance of the Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, a couple of holiday seasons ago. In each of these cases, the line load is not only mind-numbing, the actor has no one but the audience and his props to play off of. It all comes from within, and in The Gun Show, Miguel Cintron reveals that he as an astonishingly deep reservoir of life experiences and emotions from which to draw.

But on top of the excellent acting you’ll see in The Gun Show, it’s important for you, on a deeply personal and iMiguel Cintron in The Gun Show 16ndividual level, to step outside the Second Amendment/gun control controversy and experience these heartfelt stories about guns. Cintron says after the book store robbery, “I will never be the same again.” As a reviewer, I’m not saying whether everyone should have or not have access to firearms. As a playwright, E.M. Lewis is not saying there should or should not be restrictions on gun ownership. As an actor, Miguel Cintron is not telling us that guns are good or bad. But what Theatre Conspiracy Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor is saying by producing this play here and now is that you really do nMiguel Cintron in The Gun Show 17eed to experience these stories and examine, without judgment, what guns mean to you.

“I’ve had the script for this play in my back pocket for a while,” Bill acknowledges, “but after Orlando, after Club Blu, I knew the time for this play is now.”

He’s right, of course. Go see The Gun Show. You will never be the same again.

Posted September 7, 2016.

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