PlayMakers Repertory Company is starting the new year off with a bang. Its first performance of 2014 is the world premier of Mike Daisey’s one-man show, “The Story of the Gun” as part of the PRC2 series.
The PRC2 series is a special part of PlayMakers’ season that has a post-show discussion with the audience and the performers.
story of The gun
Time: 7:30 p.m. tonight through Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday
Location: Kenan Theatre, Center forDramatic Art
Jeffrey Meanza, PlayMakers’s associate artistic director who coordinates the PRC2 series, said that Daisey’s strong opinions, storytelling and provocative nature would bring out some interesting conversations about gun control in the U.S.
“He is someone who is going to bring a perspective to the conversation about guns that isn’t leaning one way or the other but really challenging both sides of the story,” he said.
Shows for the series are selected based on their ability to start a dialogue with the community, said Joseph Haj, PlayMakers’s producing artistic director.
“We try to choose work for that series that’s worthy of an in-depth conversation, so PRC2 is kind of the ideal platform for this,” Haj said.
He commissioned Daisey to do the piece about a year ago, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., which raised the issue of gun control nationwide.
“I started thinking, ‘we should be discussing this in the theater; we should have a place where we can explore this question’,” Haj said.
Daisey, who utilizes monologue-style storytelling, was trained in traditional theater but found that it felt dead to him.
“There are many fine pieces of theater that live only within the theater, but that’s never what I wanted, so for me it’s best if (the audience) carry it with them,” he said.
He wanted something that was live and not scripted, so in preparation for this performance he did a lot of reading and research, but produced no written monologue. Because Daisey is not an expert in guns, he had to also work to find the right words to make sure people knew he had done enough research.
“That’s the point of being a monologist — you don’t have any licenses and qualifications,” he said.
He will work on the piece with his director and collaborator throughout the week, tweaking each performance based on audience reaction, so that he can make it as perfect as possible.
“It’ll change enormously for sure from night to night as it evolves through the week,” he said.
Next week, he will publish the performance on his website as a podcast for the rest of the world.
“It’s incredibly vital that people understand that there’s a lot of absurdity, and there’s a lot of weirdness in it and conflict, and those things are actually very fun,” he said. “My hope is that between humanism and humor that we can actually have an evening, have a conversation where we actually try to see what the gun is to us in a new way.”
Haj echoed Daisey on the importance of talking about this controversial topic.
“We’re a nation of 300 million people and 300 million guns, and I guess that to me is a domestic question of real importance and one that is worthy of interrogation.”
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