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Max Bush returns to Grand Valley

  • Max Bush works with students on a new play

Posted on February 16, 2012

The Theatre Program at Grand Valley has commissioned a new play on the Iraq War by the distinguished playwright and alumnus Max Bush (’72).

“An Identified Enemy” will receive its first staged readings in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus, on Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday February 26 at 2 p.m. The play, open to the public with free admission, runs approximately 90 minutes without an intermission. A staged reading is an important step in the development  process of a play. Actors perform with scripts in-hand and without full costumes, set or effects used in the final version of the production.

As artist-in-residence since November, Bush developed his script with the aid of Iraq War veterans, and with a company of 25 students who have been working with him in a specially created 50-hour workshop. The drama tells the story of Jamie Foster, a war veteran now enrolled in college, as he tries to piece together the truth about his friend Jalil, a local Iraqi national.

Interested theatre and writing students came together for a first read-through of the script in November. Daily rehearsals began in earnest in February, with students presenting multiple characters during the workshop to give Bush different interpretations of his dialog. Meanwhile student dramaturgs, directors and designers assisted with additional rehearsals and prepared the stage set and lighting for the two public performances. They not only learn what goes into the creation of a play, but their own contributions to the developing script will forever be a part of the finished work, and they’ll receive credit in the published version.

Bush is a freelance playwright and director from Hamilton, Michigan, whose plays have been widely produced on professional, educational and amateur stages across the country, including Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Grand Rapids’ Community Circle Theatre, Central Michigan University, the Holland Community Theatre, and elsewhere. Another of Bush’s plays, “The Crystal,” received its American premiere at Grand Valley twelve years ago.

For more information, contact theater professor Roger Ellis in the School of Communications, at or (616) 331-3485.


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