A confident if unrevelatory look at US gun culture
Silva Semerciyan’s ‘I and The Village’ is a confident look at gun culture in the USA. And Robert Shaw Cameron’s colourful production does justice to Semerciyan’s competent examination. But the targets they have in their sights are not new ones and the show doesn’t illuminate anything new about an issue that refuses to bow its head across the Atlantic.
One day Aimee Straight walks into a church with a gun and starts shooting; afterwards a scarred community tries to work out why. Who was Aimee and what drove her to do something so tragic? The reasons are much more banal than those searching for answers would perhaps want them to be. Stubborn, aggressive, brilliant – in many ways Aimee is as clichéd an outsider as her Midwest town is predictably stifling.
The way that Aimee’s community chose to bury their responsibility for the deaths that bloody the church is a powerful metaphor for America’s blinkeredness to the violence resulting from their right to keep and bear arms.
This layer is never touched upon strongly enough to be fully communicated so ‘I and The Village’ feels frustratingly simplistic and falls just short of working as a parable. But Semerciyan’s dialogue zings and Shaw Cameron’s production is strongly acted across the board. He playfully moves us through a series of physical locations and psychological states with a dash of paint here and a movement sequence there.
Jess Curtis’s kaleidoscope spray paint set highlights that these issues are never black and white, while Nathan Klein’s emotive composition brings a filmic feel to the proceedings that delicately suggests this individual story carries universal weight.