Tull theater to premiere first live theatrical performance

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 6:00 AM

The topic of guns can be a contentious one, but a production making its way through the region provides a space for people with all views to express themselves.

“It’s not confrontational. It pushes at both sides. The power of the piece is that it finds space in the middle. It’s not advocating for anything beyond connection,” said Stewart Urist. “People hear it’s about guns…and assume it’s a play advocating for strong gun control. Really, it’s about stories. There’s space for people to bring something and share.”

Urist is managing director for Quantum Theatre, which is presenting “The Gun Show (Can we talk about this?)” at the Allegheny Campus of CCAC through Feb. 24, and the Tull Family Theater in Sewickley Feb. 27-March 3.

The one-man play examines the playwright’s complicated relationship to gun culture, and is followed by a facilitated conversation with the audience.

The show opened at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Homewood.

“It was a very succession version of people telling personal stories that were different from the playwright, who grew up in rural Oregon,” said Urist. “It was really interesting to hear from people who grew up with guns above the mantel and the reverse, with difficulties that guns have in that community. It resonated. It connected people with different experiences. From that connection, we hope the dialogue will ripple outward.”

The location of Quantum Theatre productions depends on the piece. For “The Gun Show,” director Sheila McKenna said in a release, “We sought places of community learning and community convening.”

This is Tull Family Theater’s first live theatrical performance, but not their first collaboration with Quantum. The cultural partners presented a screening of the period film, “The Limehouse Golem,” in August.

The presentation of “The Gun Show” will be the farthest Quantum has ventured from Pittsburgh’s core for any performance in its 29-year history.

“Having Quantum Theatre here aligns with our mission of strengthening cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities northwest of Pittsburgh. For many in our audience base, this will be their first experience with Quantum Theatre,” said Carolina Thor, executive director of The Tull Family Theater. “Hosting the play here makes it accessible to them.”

The Feb. 27 premiere is sold out but tickets are available for Feb. 28-March 3. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.quantumtheatre.com/the-gun-show/ or call 412-362-1713.