Teenage actors pull off tense political drama worthy of Hollywood in Sorkin’s masterpiece

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Teenage actors pull off tense political drama worthy of Hollywood in Sorkin’s masterpiece

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A watch tower in silhouette was softly lit with a solitary sentry, back turned.

   A spotlight then focused on the dour faces of Jordan Edmondson and Jillian Bollinger who introduced themselves as Private First Class Louden Downey and Lance Corporal Harold (Harriet)

   Dawson respectively and plead guilty to a crime. Next, Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel A Kaffee (played by senior Bobby Weil) and Lieutenant Junior Grade Sam Weinberg (Seth Wise) appear and talk of the case they just received.

     Captain Andrea Whittaker (Elizabeth Flewelling) meets with Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway (Addison Clark) of Internal affairs about the case of Pfc. Downey and Lance Cpl. Dawson. Lt. Cmdr. Galloway attempts to become the lawyer for the case, but finds out that LT. J.G. Kaffee has already been assigned.

    Then, the whole attorney crew meets to look at the evidence. Lt. J.G. Kaffee, Lt. J.G. Weinberg, Lt. Cmdr. Galloway, Capt. Whittaker, and two other lawyers played by Nancy Bowne and Sharia Naeem-Musiddiq. The scene then changes to introduce Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Jessup (TJ Rickey), Lieutenant Jonathan James Kendrick (Jake Fritz), and Capt. Matthew A. Markinson (Jason Shacket) sitting at a table reading a letter from Private First Class William T. Santiago (Ashton Nagasuru).

   The first act continued as the attorneys struggled to obtain evidence to exonerate Pfc. Downey and Lance Cpl. Dawson.

   The play intensified with anticipation to the infamous line that reads: Lt. Col. Jessup says, “You want answers?”

   Lt. J. G. Kaffee says, “I want the truth.”

   Lt. Col. Jessup responds, “You can’t handle the truth!”

   There was a deafening silence. Lt. Col. Jessup then continued with his monologue containing another infamous line: “Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

   Later when asked about enacting the code red, he shys away from answering the question, but Lt. J.G. Kaffee pushes and gets Lt. Col. Jessup to yell, “You’re goddamn right I did.”

   Lt. Col. Jessup is then arrested, but refuses to leave as he does not understand what is going on. He threatens Lt. J.G. Kaffee, but is swiftly taken out of the courtroom.

   Next, the verdict is given with not guilty, except “on the charge of Conduct Unbecoming a United States Marine.” They are ordered with a dishonorable discharge. The scene ends when Lt. J.G. Kaffee says, “lift your head and lift it high” and the lights turn off for curtain calls.

   The play highlighted how people in positions of power believe that they are above the law. TJ Rickey did an excellent job of portraying a stuck up, stuck in his ways Lieutenant. He delivered the infamous lines in the courtroom with so much emotion that the audience believed that he actually thought he was doing the right thing for his country.

    The play combined this idea with the code of honor and what it is exactly. We use words like honor, code, loyalty … we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ‘em as a punchline.

    Lt. J.G. Kaffee said to Lance Cpl. Dawson, “You don’t need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor.” Honor isn’t something that you get by showing off, but by being true to yourself and following the law.

    The whole play is structured like a movie with constant scene changes. The Eastern cast and crew did an excellent job of making the scene changes seem natural. Every time the Delta marines passed it allowed for some misdirection in order to change scenes on stage.

    Bobby Weil and Addison Clark appeared to have natural chemistry throughout the entire play and it was evident that they would “fall in love” in the end.

   The play took place during the summer of 1986.

   The costumes, with special shout outs to head costumers Nancy Bowne and Catherine Nyugen, were accurate and precise, like the Marine Corp, which clearly took lots of research and skillful handiwork to achieve.

   The background scenery which contained a fence with barbed wire and a guard tower where the sentry stood looked amazingly realistic. Props to the stage crew for an excellent job well done.