Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburghers Add Their 'Voice' to Gun Control Movement Performers Take on Heated Issue through Readings, Music and Video

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburghers Add Their 'Voice' to Gun Control Movement Performers Take on Heated Issue through Readings, Music and Video

Article excerpt

You could hear the sniffles and see the tears being wiped away during a three-hour program of readings, music and videos held Saturday in solidarity with the March on Washington for Gun Control.

In the wake of recent gun violence and the calls for and against gun control legislation, the "Community Arts Action" at Bricolage's Downtown theater presented emotional works by artists as near as East Liberty and as far as Australia's Alex Broun. His moving "50 Guns" was performed by Lisa Ann Goldsmith, who used plastic cups to represent the 50 weapons of the title as she recounted real-life individual tales of gun deaths from around the globe, building toward a personal tragedy.

The Pittsburgh PACT -- Public Action Communitarian Theatre -- event attracted about a hundred people, 25 of them performers, to the storefront theater on Liberty Avenue. The performers sat on seats and boxes spread across the staging area and moved forward to take their turns during the parade of scenes and readings, stand-up comedy and songs.

Kyle Bostian, a playwright, educator and head of Pittsburgh PACT, pulled the event together in about two weeks after hearing of a similar program that was held simultaneously at Georgetown University by the artistic alliance NoPassport, which provided pieces like Mr. Broun's and others from New York, Los Angeles, Wales and Japan to mingle with local works. To coordinate the effort, Mr. Bostian enlisted award-winning playwright Tammy Ryan, who read an essay on the use of guns in her plays during the three-hour event, and Mark Staley, an adjunct theater instructor at Point Park University.

"We are here to give audiences a cathartic experience around this issue, this epidemic of gun violence, to come together to celebrate, through creative expression, and then have a dialogue that hopefully galvanizes people to go out into their communities and help stem this epidemic of gun violence and death," Mr. Bostian said.

His own short play, "Irony of the Second Degree," written as a response to the shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last year, was performed in Pittsburgh and in the D.C. program.

Mr. Staley began by telling of a statistic he had read -- that a young black man in Philadelphia had a better chance of surviving Iraq than his own city. …

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