Before he was a screenwriter for feature films such as “Moneyball,” “The Social Network,” and “The American President,” Aaron Sorkin was a playwright. His breakthrough turned box office hit, A Few Good Men tells the story of military lawyers who expose a conspiracy while defending their clients, United States Marines, who are being accused of murder. Directed by Kenne Guillory, the play takes place at the Sky Lounge, a quaint theatre in North Hollywood.
The play starts off with Lance Cpt. Harold W. Dawson (Russell Cummings) and Pfc. Louden Downey (Jason Paul Evans) getting arrested for the murder of Pfc. William Santiago (Garrett Johnson). A naval investigator and lawyer Lt. Cmdr Joanne Galloway (Katherine Depangher) requests to defend Downey and Dawson but Lt j.g. Daniel Kaffee (Ryan Mercado), an inexperienced U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps lawyer, has already been appointed with Lt. j. g. Sam Weinberg (Zack Golovan) as his second chair. What we learn about Santiago is that he was a marine that wasn’t physically capable of performing some of his military duties, who didn’t respect the chain of command and was going above his superiors to get transferred. Before the letter can reach its destination it is seen by the senior commanders, Lt. Col. Nathan Jessep (Marlon Sanders), Capt. Matthew Markinson (Dennis Delsing), and Lt. Jonathan James Kendrick (Ethan McDowell). Markinson believes that Santiago should be transferred immediately for safety reasons before the request gets out, but Jessup says that this would set a bad example. He also states that officers have a responsibility to make sure that all personnel are trained, so he orders Kendrick to ensure that Santiago shows major improvement on the next evaluation report, or he will be held personally responsible. It is clear that some time after this meeting something went horribly wrong. Though Galloway isn’t representing the men, she still goes to discuss what took place the night Santiago died. What she finds out, however, leads her to suspect that they were carrying out a “code red” given to them by their commanding officer.
If you’ve seen this play (or even the movie) before, you know that it starts off pretty slow. But like most plays this is because it takes a little time to build up the characters. After thirty minutes into the play, however, you won’t be able to blink. Galloway’s (Depangher) clear irritation to Kaffe (Mercado) and his initial detached feelings towards the case which later turns into a budding friendship is somewhat amusing while Sander’s role as Lt. Col. Nathan Jessep is not only believable but slightly frightening. When he delivers one of the most famous lines in theatre and movie history alike, “You can’t handle the truth!” you can’t help but feel that this role was made for him. A Few Good Men is a classic in its own right that everyone should see at least once.
A Few Good Men is part of the Rise Above Theater Movement and will be playing at the Sky Lounge Feb. 22nd-April 7th, 2012
4930 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
$10 Preview Performances – February 22 and 23
$20 Opening Night Performances with post show reception - February 24 and 25
$15 Regular performances - February 26 – April 7
Pay What You Can Performances – February 26 @ 12Noon, Sunday March 4th @ 2pm and 7pm
Free tickets for military personnel on Saturday, March 17th @ 8pm and Sunday, March 25th @ 2pm
For more information, you can email [email protected] or call 310-425-4716
Photo Credit: Laura Hill