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12/11/2010

Comments

Nick Baxter

Wow, a three part monologue from three people affected by the Iraq war – a comedy perhaps? The first scene opened with the female soldier from Abu Ghraib captured on film grinning and giving the thumbs up as prisoners are humiliated behind her. Following the war she is back at home and in her familiar surroundings she tells a story not of regret or remorse but of patriotism and self righteousness. Indignant and angry that she has been condemned for carrying out acts which to her are justified in the circumstances.
Next up is David Kelly, alone in the countryside with wrist slashed he evaluates his life for the last time. His meteoric rise to eminent expert and then overcome with power and pressure his downfall, but the laughs keep coming in the third part is an Iraqi mother tortured – her children killed at the hands of Saddam’s guards. It is all quite heavy stuff but through excellent writing and good acting it feels well weighted – not all woe and anguish at all, there are moments of levity and a real sense of life and human spirit prevailing. Each part revealed another aspect of how the events touched real people and how they dealt with it, in a manner that didn’t appear preachy or anti American for a change.

The small theatre is tiny – around the back at the Arcola it isn’t the main stage and is very intimate – unfortunately its also down a long flight of stairs which wasn’t so easy for Richard with his newly broken ankle. Meal beforehand was the stone cave – meze platter was good as always but both me an Alice thought the falafel was a bit overdone and they tried to overcharge us for beer (well spotted eagle eye Mel).

RichardDavidson

Very, very good. All three of the monologues were exceptionally well-written and performed.
The American GI was perhaps the most uncomfortable to listen to but provided a real insight to the thought processes and attitude of the woman. Although not sympathetically-written the audience was left with a good understanding of how and why the incident happened and how it epitomised the views of a (small) minority of the army.
The David Kelly monologue was also good and acted very well. I was less sure of the story and found it difficult to separate fact from conjecture.
Finally, the Iraqi woman's story was most poignant. Beautifully acted, she portrayed the Iraqi victims of the war. This could have been done differently but the writer chose to highlight the Iraqi victims of the war as being those who hated Saddam but felt let down and disappointed by the US/UK invasion. Had the Palace of the End really changed since Saddam's removal?

Melanie

What I took away from this was how difficult I found it to listen to the final speaker - the Iraqi woman who refused to break under torture despite being able to hear her child's cries. I found that more uncomfortable than the American GI's ramblings. Did any of them have any integrity? In the end they all seemed very isolated and lonely - literally in the case of David Kelly and the Iraqi mother.

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