Taking Aim

A few years ago, the LIDA Project proved that an issue-based series of connected performances in peoples’ living rooms could attract a healthy audience; the six-part Now I Lay Me Dawn to Sleep, which focused on health care, was a roaring success. Now, with the help of six seasoned directors and a fine cast, LIDA will tackle guns and gun culture in a new series, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, which opens at 8 p.m. tonight and runs in repertory through December 15.

Timing had a lot to do with this series. “We decided to do it not long after Sandy Hook happened. We already had a few topics in mind for a new project, but when we met to discuss them two days after the shooting, that pushed it over the edge,” explains project director Tommy Sheridan. “Right now, gun control is a two-dimensional conversation — people can't seem to get past the machine part about the material object of the gun itself. We’ve created six unique plays, each with a different topic within the larger issue of gun violence: human topics like depression, mental health, domestic abuse and PTSD. These are the conversations people are not having in the mainstream. The way to make real advances is to have these conversations in our living rooms and not be afraid to look at it — to engage each other on a more personal level.

“We’ve tried to avoid the stereotypes, which has been a challenge, because often the loudest voices in this controversy are caricatures,” he adds. “We want to be able to tell real stories.”

Tonight's initial installment explores the dynamics between three combat veterans from different eras who are thrown together in a hunting blind. For the complete six-part schedule and tickets, $20 per show or $100 for the series, go to lida.org. — Susan Froyd
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Oct. 10. Continues through Dec. 15, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd