A Few Good Men on trial at Citadel Theatre
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 06:00 am
A Few Good Men
Running until Oct. 7
9828-101 A Ave.
Tickets start at $35 Call 780-425-1820 or purchase online at www.citadeltheatre.com
It’s not often that inviting a master corporal from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to a play rehearsal inspires fear in actors.
But that’s exactly what happened during a rehearsal of A Few Good Men opening at the Citadel Theatre tomorrow evening.
Made famous by Aaron Sorkin’s 1992 film starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore, A Few Good Men is a bit of who-dun-it. Two military lawyers working a court-martial uncover a high-level conspiracy while defending their clients.
Two marines in Guantanamo Bay on trial are implicated in the death of a fellow marine. Navy lawyer, Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a whip-smart but shallow man more interested in baseball than finding the truth, goes for a plea bargain.
His defence partner, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway, glances at the case’s inconsistencies and prods him to dig deeper. Their investigation unravels a conspiracy as the military mentality and the Marine code of honour goes on trial.
To familiarize the actors with a taste of military life, director James MacDonald brought in a soldier to drill them as intensely as he would his own men.
“To achieve a mentality of following orders, they break you down in a lot of different ways. They pick at your weak spots. They want you all to behave in a certain way. They have to have a uniformity that drives out the individual. It can be pretty emotional going through the process,” says assistant director John Kirkpatrick.
The former St. Albert resident was present at the rehearsal adding, “He (the soldier) was pretty intense. He was all business. I would be lying if I said we weren’t scared.”
Kirkpatrick explains that the yelling and invective is not personal.
“They care about their men by toughening them up. If you break down, they are immediately caring and try to get you settled.”
In addition to assisting MacDonald, a close friend and professional colleague for 20 years, Kirkpatrick has a 15-minute onstage role as Dr. Stone, an internal medical specialist. Once on the courtroom stand, Stone is forced to lie about a marine’s death.
“His career is on the line, but he has to tow the military line. He’s between a rock and a hard place. After 20 years of doing a job, his career has come to this.”
Stone is following the orders of Col. Nathan Jessup, a commander willing to sacrifice one person for the good of the platoon.
Ironically, Kirkpatrick sees Jessup as a product of the military whereas his toady Lt. Jonathan Kendrick is viewed as the bad guy.
“He’s just an order taker and has no qualms. He has the belief that marines have a straight line to God. Jessup recognizes the grey areas but makes a choice. For Kendrick it’s just about following orders.”
Kirkpatrick is renowned for digging his teeth into meaty scripts and this one certainly is filled with layers.
“It’s really about the responsibility in the marine culture and the chain of command. Does the culpability go to the top? It’s not black and white.”