On Thursday, we told you about Pugilist Specialist, an independent theater production that opened last night at Stone Soup Theater. Running Friday and Saturday nights through May 19th, Pugilist tells the story of four Marines preparing to complete a “black ops” mission in an unnamed Middle Eastern war zone.
The set is very simple, a soft soundscape moves over the dialogue and silences, and the characters frequently stare straight ahead at the audience while speaking. The message is communicated through stark, fast and striking language: “Victory forgives dishonesty.” “Secrets are my armor.” “I stand not with the advocates of disunion.” Director Tyrone Brown, a Gulf War veteran, admits openly to his audience that artistic license is taken with the characters’ words in order to bring attention to the horrors of modern-day warfare. In doing so, the tension and pure awfulness of war, which happen so fast in reality, are drawn out by the rhythm of the character’s movements and delivery.
How does anyone go about communicating the internal and external struggles of war to those on the home front? Video games, movies, novels and comic books have tried. The success rate depends on the audience. Pugilist presents a different angle–that of typical soliders, typical emotions, typical tragedies–in an entirely atypical manner. Even if it helps us to understand just a little bit what it’s like to be “over there,” than everyone has succeeded.
The Wrecking Crew Theater Company presents Pugilist Specialist at Stone Soup Theater on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 through May 19th. Written by Adriano Shaplin and directed by Tyrone Brown, the plays features Wrecking Crew members Colin Featherston-Wilkinson and John-Paul Wilson and guests Lyam White and Andy Tribolini. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.