Theater Review: A Few Good Men plays at Chicago’s Raven Theatre

Chicago’s Raven Theatre has been a viable company for 20 years. Their space at 6157 N. Clark provides them two theaters easily accessed by their audiences. Currently running is A Few Good Men, written by Aaron Sorkin and familiar to movie fans as the film starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore.

It couldn’t be more timely. Set in Washington, D.C., and the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it focuses on the trial of two Marines accused of brutalizing and contributing to the death of a young Marine, Pfc. Santiago. Nathan Davis plays the frustrated victim, unable to convince his superiors that constant harassment makes his life a living hell. Davis, son of George and Sharon Davis, dedicates his first professional theater role to his parents. A recent graduate of the University of Illinois, this role provides him a wonderful opportunity to be recognized by the Chicago theater community. In January, he will be playing at Pegasus Theatre in their New Plays Festival.

The multi-level set makes possible movement from one scene to the next. The exceptional cast uses the space well—Jose Antonio Garcia is Daniel Kaffee, assigned to defend Dawson (Tucker Davis) and Downey (Tom Reedy). Their code of ethics enables them to use any method in disciplining inappropriate behavior. Their superior officers, Kendrick (Paul Dunckel) and Jessep (Chuck Spencer), give orders, but refuse to accept the consequences. Spencer’s final outrageous outbursts at the trial so well represent the insane behavior of those who defend torture.

Melissa Nedwell is Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway. Fighting sexual discrimination and fellow officers who see her as more of a nuisance than an equal, she brings to her role complete authenticity. This play couldn’t be more timely. Only in yesterday’s news did the current administration agree to Sen. John McCain’s amendment to make torture an issue. Guantanamo has come to represent much more than a facility to house terrorists. Our values and ethics are so easily compromised.

A Few Good Men, has received excellent reviews, and the run has been extended through Jan. 28, 2006. The location of the theater is easily accessible, and parking is available. For ticket information, call (773) 338-2177.

From the Dec. 21-27, 2005, issue

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