No matter where you stand on the gun debate, “The Secretary” can point you to a different angle.
The most engrossing part of the show is how every woman’s reason for bearing or not bearing arms slowly unfolds. All the characters are women, the men they fear are off stage. Each character in Main Street Theater’s production is relatable, dynamic, and undeniably human.
Ruby (Alice M. Gatling) manufacturers the weapons in the play. From the first few moments of the show, it’s clear she loves guns, but why is not revealed until the very end. Gatling portrays Ruby as a motherly, protective and extremely likable character.
Opposite of Ruby is April (UH alumna Skyler Sinclair) who is a pro-gun-control advocate, despite Ruby’s insistence that she needs a gunpowder and lead “restraining order” instead of a paper one. The way Sinclair plays April makes the character feel like a few liberal protesting college students I know.
Shirley (UH alumna Celeste Roberts) is the secretary who is torn on whether she stopped a potential school shooting or simply killed one of her students. Roberts acts out the emotional turmoil in an empathic and even heartbreaking way.
While this play is called a comedy, it’s about a heavy subject. In the U.S., there were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017 or about 109 deaths per day. With the Santa Fe High School and Parkland, Florida shootings, as well as the resulting March for Our Lives protest still being very close recent events, this play strikes too close to home to feel funny.
While no audible shots are fired during the production, weapons are brandished throughout. Character quirks gave the show some comedic moments, but this production made me think and question more than laugh.
“The Secretary” is showing at Main Street Theater through Feb. 10. This cozy theater in Rice Village is offering free College Nights for this performance on Thursday, Jan. 24 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. Make sure to reserve your seat online and bring your student ID. On other days, student tickets are $10. University faculty and staff can receive 25 percent off when they use the promo code “TEACHER” online.