Theater Company Claims To Want Conversation On "Gun Violence," But Do They?

One of the things I enjoy doing from time to time is acting with my local theater. My wife is knee-deep in stuff there, so we get to do these shows together, so it gets kind of cool. Theater can be a lot of fun.

However, much of the theater world has a decidedly leftward bent. That means, typically, an anti-gun bent.

So when I hear about a production wanting to “start a conversation” about guns or gun violence, I get a little twitchy.

The Roustabouts Theatre Co. just opened the world premiere of Will Cooper’s dark comedy “gUnTOPIA,” which takes aim at gun violence and hopes to be a conversation starter.

The play presents what playwright Will Cooper described in a press release as, “a satire about a world where guns have become objects of religious devotion, a world a little like ours.”

Clearly, Cooper is going into this project with an open mind and isn’t at all going with a media portrayal of gun owners that has no basis in reality or anything, now is he?

Oh, it goes on.

The design of the play makes it look like a 1950s sitcom but instead of “Leave It To Beaver” or “Father Knows Best” family antics we are given a world where gun ownership is universal for children and parents alike, and shooting deaths are no more bothersome than a parking ticket.

Rosina Reynolds directs the play.

“It takes place in a utopian environment where everybody is armed,” she said. “The idea being that you’re safer if everybody is armed because everybody is somehow on a level playing field, an equal. But some of the elements that come out of that is how disconnected we become from our emotional lives and what are the consequences of that? And the play continues on this path from a very satirical opening into a rather dark and unnerving ending.”

Reynolds goes on to claim that it’s not satire in that it’s taking a side then attacking it, but color me skeptical.

You see, when artistic types decide they want to “start a conversation” about guns, what they typically mean is for us to sit down, shut up, and be lectured to for a couple of hours. They’re not interested in our take, our opinions.

I mean, the set-up sounds good. If everyone is armed then everyone is on a level playing field. Yet the idea that we somehow become “disconnected…from our emotional lives” because of that is ridiculous.

Then again, what do you expect when the person wanting to start a conversation almost never actually speaks with people on the pro-gun side of the discussion.

Look, if you want to start a conversation, there are people out there you can have a conversation with. Dana Loesch isn’t exactly hiding and she went to a town hall in Parkland, Florida just days after a mass shooting under the auspices of CNN of all people. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say she’s willing to talk.

There’s our own editor, Cam Edwards, who has done numerous national television and radio interviews. There’s me who hasn’t done as many as Cam, but I’ve done a few of each as well. That’s just three examples of folks writers could approach if they really want to start a conversation and that’s discounting the thousands of pro-gun voices that are much, much closer geographically than any of us.

Any of us would tell you that owning and carrying a gun doesn’t make is feel disconnected from our emotional lives. They’re tools that we use if we need one, but otherwise don’t spend a lot of time thinking about except to maintain proficiency with them. That’s it. While I’m a different person than when I first started carrying, that’s because I’ve gone through a number of life changes since then. None of them had anything to do with carrying a gun, nor would it.

I can’t help but feel like all these “let’s start a conversation” types don’t even really know what a conversation actually is. After all, a conversation would require them to actually listen to us for a change.