AN IDENTIFIED ENEMY
Jack T. Lane
Louis Armstrong Theatre - Performing Arts Center
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
November 9 - 17, 2012
Set in war-torn Baghdad and the United States, ex-serviceman Jamie Foster struggles to uncover the fate of a young Iraqi man who befriended him and saved his life--only to have been later kidnapped and “disappeared” by agents of U.S. intelligence. The world premiere of a searing new play about the war on terror, by national award-winning author Max Bush.
November 9, 10, 15 & 16 . . . . . . . . 7:30 p.m.
November 11 & 17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2:00 p.m.
Tickets range from $12.00 to $6.00 and available starting August 20.
Fri. 11/9 7:30 Opening Might & Free Catered Reception Following
Sat. 11/10 7:30 Performance
Sun. 11/11 2:00 Performance Followed by Experts Panel/Audience Discussion
Thu. 11/15 7:30 Performance Followed by Experts Panel/Audience Discussion
Fri. 11/16 7:30 Performance
Sat. 11/17 2:00 Closing Performance
An Identified Enemy tells the story of Jamie Foster, an Iraqi war veteran who has recently returned to civilian life, as he desperately tries to locate a young Iraqi man who befriended him in Baghdad. Jamie and his girlfriend Della, another Iraqi vet, have enrolled in college and are trying to re-adjust to civilian life; but Jamie spends most of his time worrying about his Iraqi friend, Jalil, who saved his life in Baghdad from an IED explosion. Jamie was never certain whether or not Jalil knew the bomb had been planted. Before Jamie left Baghdad, Jalil was arrested by authorities and then kidnapped by American intelligence officers who “disappeared” him from his family and from Baghdad altogether. Della tries to encourage Jamie to “move on” and put the war behind him, but the question of rendition (kidnapping foreign nationals for torture and interrogation) gnaws at Jamie, and is never completely answered. The story is set in Baghdad and Michigan, and the characters include soldiers, Iraqi men and women, civilian contractors, prison officials, intelligence officers, translators and others.
This play argues strongly for cultural understanding and tolerance in the United States as we wrestle with issues of racial profiling, cultural imperialism, diversity and inclusion. It also appeals to mideastern cultures for greater understanding of cultural issues among their own people who come into contact with westerners involved in their regional conflicts. For example, the central character Jamie Foster, is mocked by his fellow infantrymen because he befriends an young Iraqi man and his sister; racial epithets, sexual harassment and ethnic slurs are woven into the fabric of the play’s dialog. At the same time, the play presents videotaped interviews from Al Jazeera news archives that display the same sort of hatred and cultural intolerance towards westerners and their defense of basic human rights for all peoples.
This project is a play production by the Theatre program in the School of Communications. In 2011, the program commissioned a professional playwright, Max Bush, to write a new play on the current Iraq conflict. Mr. Bush, a Distinguished Alumnus of GVSU, developed the script and met with students in the fall & winter semesters of 2011, leading them in a 50-hour playwriting workshop. In February 2012 the preliminary version of An Identified Enemy was presented in the Performing Arts Center for two public performances as a staged reading; the drama faculty & staff then decided to add the play to its 2012-2013 theatre season as a fully-staged production.
Since 1993, the fall stage production following the annual Shakespeare Festival has featured a drama focusing on cultural diversity & inclusion, and An Identified Enemy was specifically chosen by the Theatre Faculty as an appropriate show for this purpose. In fact, GVSU is the only University theatre program in Michigan making this annual commitment to produce plays dealing with themes of social justice. Recent scripts produced in this context at GVSU have focused upon issues of gender equality, racism, religious discrimination and similar topics. Their subjects have dealt with the persecution of dissidents in modern China, the exploitation of women workers in the United States, the struggles of Korean immigrants to assimilate into American society, the marginalization of tribal peoples and other issues. GVSU theatre students have been recognized for the quality of their work by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Awards (for the “disappeared” people of Argentina); and have worked on social issues dramas with national playwrights-of-color brought to campus for temporary residencies to coach students in their roles & interpretation.
|Last Modified Date: August 21, 2012|
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