The Gun Show
By E.M. Lewis
Featuring Andrew William Smith
Directed by Lisa Velten Smith
Generously underwritten by Jane & Bill Bardin
Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at 7:30 pm
Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Rd, Ashland, OR
Note: ANPF Members receive a discount on performance tickets. Please contact us if you are a member and did not receive your discount code in an email on April 11.
In The Gun Show, E.M. Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms, from her experiences in a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York. This riveting one-act play is performed by Andrew William Smith, who brings to life Lewis’s unique perspective and true stories as if they were his own, with brutal honesty and poignant humor. Leaning neither right nor left, the play jumps into the middle of the gun control debate, and asks “Can we have a conversation about this?”
Reviews for The Gun Show
“Human, bold, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always honest.” – New City
“GO! The drama’s life-changing moments evoke a here-and-now immediacy, not easily forgotten.” – LA Weekly
“Compact yet high-caliber theatrical, a short one-hour blast of personal recollection, rhetoric and genuinely conflicted questioning.” – Oregon Arts Watch
E.M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and librettist. She is a former ANPF winning playwright (Song of Extinction, ANPF 2008) as well as having served as host playwright for eight ANPF Fall Festival seasons.
Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, an L.A. Weekly Award for Production of the Year, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. Her play Now Comes the Night was part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Washington DC, and was published in the anthology Best Plays from Theater Festivals 2016.
The Gun Show premiered in Chicago in 2014, and has since been produced in more than a dozen theaters across the country, including Coho in Portland, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; it was published in The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016.
Other plays by Lewis include: Infinite Black Suitcase, Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, Reading to Vegetables, True Story, Apple Season, and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center). In 2018, Lewis’ epic Antarctica play, Magellanica, will have its world premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland. How the Light Gets In will have a reading in the Fertile Ground Festival. Song of Extinction will have a reading at the Portland Civic Theater Guild. Lewis will spend five weeks in residence at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, teaching playwriting and working with students on the workshop production of a big, new political play set in her home state of Oregon called The Great Divide. In addition, Lewis will premiere Town Hall, a new opera written with composer Theo Popov, at the University of Maryland Opera Studio in February, and continue to work on a full-length, family-friendly opera, written with composer Evan Meier, commissioned by American Lyric Theater, called Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant. Lewis is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild.
Andrew W. Smith is a professional actor, director, and producer whose work has been seen throughout New York City, regionally, and internationally. He is also the co-founding artistic director of award-winning Project Y Theatre Company in New York City.
Selected regional acting work includes Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Quantum Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Potomac Theatre Project, Ars Nova, Studio Theatre, and Olney Theatre Center. He toured with The National Players on their 50th anniversary as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac. Film/TV credits include Lucid; Shooting Script; Death of a Nation (Winner: Best Short, IndieFest 2011; Best in Show, Best Shorts Competition 2011); Under-Ground; GONE; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; One Life to Live; As the World Turns; and Guiding Light.
Project Y Theatre Company, produces new and innovative theatre with a focus on diverse or unheard voices. It supports new plays that appeal to audiences interested in such themes as race, feminism, technology, and community. Project Y has received grants funding for work from New York State Council on the Arts, New York Department Cultural Affairs, Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, Brooklyn Arts Council, and The Puffin Foundation.
Andrew is currently an assistant professor of acting at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. He spent two years as a visiting assistant professor of theatre at Middlebury College, Vermont, from which he received his BA in theatre. He is also a graduate of the MFA acting program at the University of California, San Diego, where he received the Teaching Excellence Award upon graduation.
Lisa Velten Smith is an actor, director, writer, educator, and voice scholar.
She has performed on Broadway, off Broadway, regionally and in television and film. As a director, she has worked in Chicago, San Diego and New York. Lisa is a Designated Linklater Teacher and teaches Voice for the Actor at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.
The Gun Show by E.M. Lewis After the Performance
We are so grateful for the incredible weekend of The Gun Show by award-winning playwright E.M. Lewis on June 14 and 15. The play is honest, poignant and powerful. Audience members shared their personal gun stories following the performance and deepened the connection and impact felt among everyone in the room.
“Went to this play last night in Ashland, Oregon. It is a powerful play, it’s purpose is to start a conversation. A conversation which will bring both sides to a mutually respectful understanding. It is based on true stories. [We] were inspired by the actor who kept us following every word and opened our minds to the other side. However the highlight was meeting the author E. M. Lewis after the show. A brave and honest woman who wants to talk. Would highly recommend if it comes your way.” – Carole Greene Dua, audience member
Many thanks to Andrew William Smith for his nuanced, down-to-earth, powerhouse performance; to Lisa Velten Smith for all her thoughtful directing, for deftly connecting the action and movement of the play to the space and making it feel at home; to E.M. for her vulnerability, courage, and beautiful, heart-breaking, funny writing, for supporting your actor and giving us a transformative experience of theater, community, and coming together.
We couldn’t have brought this play to Ashland without the artistic direction of Kyle Haden and associate artistic direction of Jackie Apodaca; the play’s generous underwriters Jane and Bill Bardin; the generous director underwriters Roger Pearce and Julie Benezet; the efforts of board members, volunteers and staff; and this incredible theater-supporting and loving community. Thank you!
About the play:
“I am here to tell a public story and a private story. A story about guns in America and a story about my own experiences with guns in America.”
And so begins the riveting one-hour play. Lewis tells her story with raw honesty and gives audiences important insight into the nuances of America’s gun debate. Since the play’s 2014 Jefferson Award-nominee world premiere in Chicago, it has gone on to receive critical acclaim and sold-out performances across the country and an international premiere in 2017 at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ANPF’s production was directed by Lisa Velten Smith.
In The Gun Show, Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms, from her experiences in a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York. Lewis’s stories are brought to life by Andrew William Smith, who completed a month-long production of The Gun Show in March at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre.
Read more about the play and Lewis’s thoughts behind it in this Mail Tribune article: “Play tackles gun debate in America.”
You can listen to an interview with Lewis, William Smith and Velten Smith on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange.
“I didn’t try and go down the middle. I tried to reach out toward both sides and include everybody in the conversation. This is not a centrist play, this is an inclusive play.” – E.M. Lewis
E.M. Lewis is a former ANPF winning playwright (Song of Extinction, ANPF 2008) and served as host playwright for eight ANPF Fall Festival seasons. Her work has been produced around the world and published by Samuel French. Among her many accolades as a playwright and librettist, she received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, an L.A. Weekly Award for Production of the Year, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama.
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