The Gun Show

By E.M. Lewis    

Directed by Lisa Velten Smith

Dramaturg

This production is underwritten by Jane and Bill Bardin.

Synopsis

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?”

About

“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 E.M. Lewis’s powerful play.

Ashland New Plays Festival presented its first full production of a play with The Gun Show on June 14 and 15, 2019, featuring Andrew William Smith, directed by Lisa Velten Smith. Conversations with the audience about personal experiences with guns followed the performance.

Lewis tells her story with raw honesty and gives audiences important insight into the nuances of America’s gun debate. “I didn’t try and go down the middle,” she said on an interview on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange, “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.”

Her stories are brought to life by William Smith, who completed a month-long production of The Gun Show at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre in early 2019.

“It is a very, very rigorous journey,” he said in the same interview, “because there is a feeling of authenticity to the experience where I have to exist in truth, in peace with this moment, saying these words to these people. It really asks me to be in the moment and accept being in the moment. I need to breathe the same air as the audience members, the same air as Ellen…”

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. It was also included in The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016.

Who

Playwright Andrew William Smith*

*Appearing through an Agreement between ANPF and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Where

Now. A bare stage, except for a ghost light, a sturdy wooden table, and a sturdy wooden chair.

Poster art by: Wayfarer

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Playwright Image

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 ANPF host playwright for eight seasons.

Her work has been produced around the world and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg/ATCA Award for How the Light Gets In, the Edgerton Award for Magellanica, the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction, and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, as well as 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.

Her play The Gun Show was ANPF’s first fully-staged production, which was presented summer 2019. 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: How the Light Gets In; MagellanicaInfinite Black Suitcase; Goodbye, Ruby TuesdayReading to Vegetables; True Story; Apple Season; and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center).

In 2019, it was announced that Lewis was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to be part of their American Revolutions series, and her play How the Light Gets had its world premiere at Boston Court Pasadena. In 2018, Lewis’ epic Antarctica play, Magellanica, had its world premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland. Also in 2018, Lewis spent 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 premiered Town Hall, a new opera written with composer Theo Popov, at the University of Maryland Opera Studio, and premiered 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.




Director Image

Lisa Velten Smith is an actor, director, writer, educator, and voice scholar. She is the artistic associate for Project Y Theatre Company.

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.




Andrew William Smith
Andrew W. Smith

“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.

Ashland New Plays Festival presented its first full production of a play with The Gun Show on June 14 and 15, 2019, featuring Andrew William Smith, directed by Lisa Velten Smith. Conversations with the audience about personal experiences with guns followed the performance.

Lewis tells her story with raw honesty and gives audiences important insight into the nuances of America’s gun debate. She 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. Her stories are brought to life by Smith, who completed a month-long production of The Gun Show at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre in early 2019.

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. It was also included in The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016.

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