While training as a playwright, I was taught that any gun brought onstage must go off. Anton Chekhov said, ‘One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.’ But thinking of firing is not enough. The gun foreshadows the action that will – that must – occur. Its appearance is a contract with the audience. The gun becomes the story, the conflict, and the resolution due to its presence and our expectations. If ‘all the world’s a stage’ it is most noticeably in America where the gun is downstage, front and centre. Its firing has become our narrative.
In a nation founded by religious radicals, it is no surprise that the right to freedom of worship is in our Bill of Rights, the first of our amendments.