March 10, 2016 – 7:30 pm

“A Gun Show” in Princeton


As part of Sō Percussion’s residency in the music department of Princeton University, we present a work-in-progress showing of our new theatrical event “A Gun Show.”

The performance is free! Just make a reservation at 609-258-2787 or show up to the McCarter Theatre Center Box Office in Princeton.

We do have a mild parental advisory for this show. Although our concerts are usually fun for the whole family, “A Gun Show” deals with weighty and mature issues of violence and grief, and it may not be suitable for children.

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A Gun Show

The ways in which Americans perceive these small machines seems to intersect with numerous serious issues that confront our society – race, economic inequality, public safety, constitutional rights, etc.  They represent an everyday tool to some, but a health menace to others. What is it about our collective psyche that fastens so tightly to guns?

A Gun Show is an exploration of these issues through music, text, and movement. We originally set to work on it as a way to process our emotions after the unfathomable school shootings in Newton, CT. 

We are joined for the second time by collaborators Ain Gordon (director), and performer/choreographer Emily Johnson, who helped us find beauty amid the chaos of everyday life in Where (we) Live. Our collective and myriad artistic influences splash across the canvas of A Gun Show as we search for ways to respond: childhood memories in the woods; a sing-song text duet that masks darker memories; the organized violence that many percussion instruments were designed for; the patient and hopeful mourning of the blues; the harmless tinkling resonance of a disassembled sniper rife – all play a part in our dreamscape. 

We are angry, but we are also engulfed by a paralysis of melancholy. Political action is on our minds, yet the complexities of human nature lurk menacingly in the background. In the face of such weighty issues, sometimes we take a step forward to sing, play, tell a story. We respond to the urge to move, we gather and occupy space together peacefully. 

No word exactly sums up what this performance is – opera may come the closest. The audience is invited to reflect and commune, as we have already found that guns embody a peculiarly American experience. It is strange that we should all be so deeply affected by their presence.