Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The War Within

Yesterday I did a reading of Lydia Stryk's American Tet at the New York Theater Workshop. It was the second reading I've done about the Iraqi war in a few months. The other, The Poor Itch by John Belluso, was read in November as part of the Public's New Works Now series.
As the war in Iraq has been going on for some time now, I find it odd that there have been few if any plays produced in New York on the subject.
My friend and colleague, Lisa Peterson, directed both readings. And after yesterday's performance, I asked her if she knew of any more plays out there, written or being written about the war.
She mentioned that Mac Wellman had written a couple, and that she knew of a few others in the works.
"Where are they?" I wondered.
She shrugged. "They have to be produced by someone."
Lisa likened those unproduced plays to airplanes circling the sky above a runway.
We talked about the war and its similarities to Vietnam, its complexity and haphazardness.
I thought of how disciplined the military must be, in order to survive the imminent chaos of modern warfare.
Finally, we agreed on the importance of a play that represents, fairly, both a pro-war and anti-war stance. Just as drama itself indicates conflict or dramatic tension, an American play about the war cannot easily neglect the polarized American opinion.
We spoke of how difficult it is for us humans to truly realize, understand and have compassion for an opposing stance on certain issues.
Hopefully, in the near future, more playwrights will put themselves up to the difficult task of waging this war within themselves. And producers will finally open their doors to them.

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