Storyteller and monologist Mike Daisey has returned to PlayMakers Repertory Company after his wide success with his The Last Cargo Cult. As part of PRC2 Second Stage Series, this time Daisey brings with him a world premiere of The Story of the Gun, an examination of America’s obsession with guns and why there is no such thing as “gun control.”
Daisey is a storyteller of high caliber, easily talking to us about why there are more than 340 million guns in America and a theory on why this fact exists. He harkens us back to the first battle of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Lexington, and the first attack of the British on what had come to be known as the Minutemen.
The Founding Fathers were bound to make laws against the government taking people’s guns because it was the owners of guns who defended us during the war. This is understandable. So what is it that has evolved into the great gun debate and America’s obsession with guns? Daisey tries to tell us that the gun is a finely tuned instrument of death. A man — and Daisey tells us the gun is a highly phallic weapon — who holds a gun is powerful; when a man holds a gun people listen.
In a show directed by Jean-Michelle Gregory, Daisey’s sixteen-year collaborator, Daisey told us of his own youthful introduction to the weapon and how it overcame him. Seated at a table with a microphone in front of him, Daisey expounded on why there is such a debate over guns in the country, and why there is no such thing as gun control. Simply, there are too many of the things. And no government agency exists that can take them away. We have the right to bear arms.
Daisey has been doing this kind of work for seventeen years now, and many of his plays have achieved cult status. His play The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs has seen over 100 productions and has been translated into 16 languages. Daisey is a modernist, active on both Facebook and Twitter, and you can find all of his works available at mikedaisey.com.
Daisey is very good at what he does, drawing us in with humor and an easy style. One must be prepared for straightforward talk, along with a healthy dose of profanity, because Daisey uses it liberally for effect. He spoke candidly about his own introduction to guns, about finding them in his cellar and why it was such an obsession to see and examine these weapons of destruction.
Daisey spatters a number of facts throughout his monologue, for example, the obvious fact that there are more guns than there are automobiles in the country, and automobiles are the more regulated of the two. His words carry weight, not only because of his easy delivery but because he seems to be a voice of reason in a debate too often governed by rage and buzz words.
If you decide to go and see The Story of the Gun, you will no doubt hear a monologue that is different from the one we witnessed; Daisey tells us that no two shows in this kind of work are the same. This play is still evolving, taking different tacks on different angles when the mood suits him. We witnessed the very first monologue that sustained an audience, and what you hear will necessarily be different. But the underlying facts of the Story of the Gun remain: there are far more guns than people in the United States and the U.S. has a far different view of guns than most other countries. Guns will be with us always, and as long as that fact remains there will be a war waged over them. The story of the gun in the United States is still evolving.
The Story of the Gun continues through Sunday, January 12. For more details on this production, please view the sidebar.