Recommended*** War is Hell! During my lifetime I have heard this phrase more times than I want to recall, as we have been involved in many wars that are not really our concern, but as THE World leaders, must be part of. In Hannah Moscovitch’s “This Is War” , now having its U.S. Premiere at Signal Theatre, we get a glimpse os what takes place in the lives of four members of the Canadian forces who are holding Panjwaii ( in Afghanistan) as they are interviewed about a particular incident and time when they lost one of their own- why did this happen? Who is responsible? These are the questions that arise from each of the members of this troop tells us what happened. The story unfolds in a manner in which you will want to pay close attention to.
Under the direction of Ronnan Marra, on a simple, but effective set by Melania Lancy, for 90 minutes we are held captive by the strong story that Moscovitch weaves. Each of the four actors in this cast, Billy Fenderson, Michael Finley, Dylan Stuckey and the only female, Courtney Jones, talks of the event that we are concerned with, one in which a member of this unit was lost and along the way, we witness the things that happen to a person during a time away from home and faced with threats from each direction. She is an intense writer who digs deeply into her subject matter, so one would imagine that this play is based on something very real. In fact, this story feels very real and opens your mind to the facts of life, “war is hell!”, and the situation that has brought these characters together, in this troubled spot is in fact what war is.
The lighting ( Michael C. Smith) was sheer perfection in telling a story like this. The sound (Anthony Ingram) was a bit irregular in some case, but that could be due to the “el” trains that run along the theater which cannot be controlled or written in to the story. The costumes ( Elsa Hiltner) seemed accurate military and the props ( Stephanie Ingram and Joseph Stearns) authentic.
Over the years, since 9-11 , we have had many plays dealing with the battles in the Afghanistan range and the Taliban versus the civilians and while I found this to be a well acted and directed production, I felt it might be a bit incomplete as we only get a portion of the story. I for one would like to know if that is all there is and certainly what happened after the stories were all listened to- What happened to Master Corporal Tanya Young ( by the way, Courtney Jones was very real)?
“This Is War” will continue at Signal Theatre located at 1802 West Bernice ( just west of Ravenswood) and south of Irving Park Rd through September 28th with performances as follows:
Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets are a mere $20 ($15 for seniors, students and poor actors/industry) and can be purchased by calling 773-698-7389 or online at www.signalensemble.com
There is plenty of parking ( free) in the area and the theater is easy to get to via public transportation and the venue is handicapped accessible.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, click on Review Round-up and click at “This is War”