At THE BOOTLEG
I WOULD NEVER SEE IT BECAUSE: Another war play? Really? I just want to have a good time and chill, dude. Why you gotta be, so, you know, like, come on? Anyway the war is so totally 2005.
THAT’S NOT FAIR BECAUSE: Los Angeles alone has staged at least a half-dozen truly beautiful pieces of theatre that not only address the cost of our recent war in relatable, human terms, but also acknowledge the profound sacrifice of the families and extended networks of military personnel. These all provide an opportunity for each show’s audience to share the experience of recognizing war in the humanizing context of consequences of actions instead of an abstract bandied about by politicians and journalists.
SO WHY SHOULD I SEE IT?
Patrick J. Adams is a stunningly gifted actor embodying a monster borne of war politics and careful manipulation. His character resolves as perhaps the most beautiful, selfless example of a martyr-of-circumstance, lost to the twisting torrents of the rhetoric of war and its criminals. At the deepest circle of his own personal hell, a dying glimmer of consciousness makes its peace with the one soul it truly touched, for better or for much worse.
And that’s just the dude who does the most heavy lifting. The supporting cast are a razor-sharp, well-oiled machine, stripping bare the familiar bait-and-switch machine too many victims of trial-by-media persecution have succumbed to. The truth is so often assembled piecemeal by those who have a personal detachment from the consequences an unpleasant truth’s action.
WHAT AREN’T YOU TELLING ME?
War plays suck. They’re a colossal bummer and people in them generally have a bad time. On top of that, we as an audience are compelled to sympathize with a sub-culture willing to indulge in the darkest combative impulse of contentious semi-persons. Because everyone who fights wars isn’t really human at the end of the day, right? Wait…what if they are more human than anyone who DOESN’T fight in a war? Whoa, dude.
Also, there’s an unusual quirk: there are two levels to this show. You can watch from the ground floor seats in traditional fashion, or you can watch from high seats accessible only by ladder.
SO WHAT DID YOU THINK?
I watched this play from above. The perspective is fantastic; I watched a twisted blend of the center ring of a circus and a gladiatorial arena while our hero was dragged through the incontrovertible gravity of his circumstance. At first, I feared him lapsing into the well-visited trope of the southern-bumpkin-strapped-to-a-military-rifle, but the last scene, his core humanity is starkly illuminated. Without a comfortably familiar archetype to take us through the paces, I imagine it would be much harder to earn the heartbreaking beauty of the last revelation.
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