gun culture

Under the gun in Ory-gun

In "The Gun Show" at CoHo Theatre, Vin Shambry and E.M. Lewis bring the great American elephant into the living room and tell true tales

What will happen if people confuse The Gun Show with a Gun Show? Director Shawn Lee says he’d be delighted. The day after CoHo Theatre’s opening night this Friday (September 9), The Original Rose City Gun Show will kick off at the Portland Expo Center—and while the proximity of the two events may be a coincidence, it certainly demonstrates the immediacy of the play’s theme.

Drive 20 minutes outside of Portland in almost any direction, and you may see a bumper sticker that re-dubs our state “Ory-gun.”

Vin Shambry tells tales in "The Gun Show." Photo: Shawn Lee

Vin Shambry tells tales in “The Gun Show.” Photo: Shawn Lee

Turn on the news, and you may or may not see sufficient coverage of whatever mass-shooting happened within the last two weeks.

Or perch on a bench in Colonel Summers Park, as actor Vin Shambry did recently while studying his Gun Show script, and you may discover that you’re sharing your bench with a gun enthusiasts’ magazine.

Guns are everywhere. If the left wing is trying to take them all, as some on the right assume, they have their work cut out for them. Playwright E.M. Lewis is relatively quick to clarify that that’s not her objective. Hailing from the rural “Orygun” town Monitor (just east of Woodburn), she’s had an intimate long-term relationship with the gun as an implement of recreation and protection as well as a tool of threat and disaster—and she’s penned a script comprised of five true gun stories from her life that cover as many sides of the issue. For example, her first date with her future husband was spent learning how to shoot on a sunny day beside a pond. She wore a bikini top. He wrapped his arms around her while showing her how to line up the sights. Sparks flew.