I contacted director Carol Jacqueline Palumbo to sketch a rehearsal of Good Soldier, written by Tony Pelham. Jonathan Raffoul plays the part of the good soldier as he relates the memories and horrors of war. Carol confided, that at the audition, she knew Jonathan was perfect for the part after his first reading. He has a palpable intensity that stays true to the part. Suffering from the horrors of war, he tries to make sense of it all.
Carol's plan was to workshop a couple areas and then let him run through the show a few times without any interruptions. The rehearsal was in Carol's apartment which is packed up since she plans to move soon. The clutter of her belongings seemed appropriate for the clutter in the soldier's mind. Clearly this soldier suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. When he related the memories of his fellow soldiers raping and killing a young beautiful female civilian, I empathized with his anger and guilt. Perhaps had he stayed in the room he could have stopped what was about to happen. He would have to live with the guilt his whole life. The rapist, killed in battle was considered a war hero.
Much of this incredible twenty minute monologue is addressed to an imagined therapist in the audience. The soldier responds to the therapist's imagined questions with distaste and anger. It becomes clear that no therapist can explain away the horrors that play out again and again in his mind. When he mistakes the therapist for the rapist, he becomes menacing in his anger. Although a fuse has shorted, I empathized with the notion that he wanted justice even in war. Perhaps there is no such thing. The victors write history. Perhaps he wasn't even fighting for a just cause. After the second read through Carol said to Jonathan, "That's the performance to beat!" It really was a superb performance. You don't want to miss this show.
Mark your calendar! The play is one of seven original short plays that is part of Playwrights Roundtable's Summer Series that will debut at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL. Performances will be held at 8pm in the Santos Dantin Studio Theatre, July 17th through August 2nd on the weekends with Sunday 3pm matinee only shows.
The other shows in the Summer Shorts line up are:
- "Train Stop" by Mark Cornell
Serio-comic, A Man and a Woman meet at a stop and consider the possibilities of their maybe-future relationship.
- "Dating, Sex, and the Space-Time Continuum" by David Strauss
Do you ever wish your future and present selves could talk to each other and maybe warn you away from that one relationship you may or may not end up regretting?
- "Speaking of Mars" by Jonathan Cook
A man and a woman are paired up for the historic first mission to Mars. But one of them has a secret...
- "Soles" by Katie Thayer
It's the end of the world as we know it, but is it too much to ask to go out with a pair of comfortable shoes?
- "Binged There, Done That" by Ken Preuss
Sitcom is life. Especially when taken all in one sitting.
- "In Me" by William Newkirk
Comedy, 1m, 1w - 20s - A couple discover some important truths about themselves while searching for a rather important part of their lovemaking.