Black Watch at St. Ann’s Warehouse

Black Watch, the National Theatre of Scotland’s much praised production about a fighting regiment, is back at St. Ann’s Warehouse through May 8. The show has collected accolades, glowing reviews, and a slew of awards from around the globe since it premiered in 2006, so I’ll be brief. Five reasons to get a ticket:

1>  It accomplishes what many plays and films about war—and the Iraq debacle in particular—have attempted. It’s very much about ten specific men and their experiences, but it transcends the individual to make points on the policy level too. It captures the paradoxical combination of excitement and boredom of serving in the army, the gulf that exists between returning soldiers and civilians, the questions, uncertainties, and conflicts that enlisted men go through.

2>  You could take a vet or gun-toting, red-flag waving Republican to see it, and chances are they’d be utterly engrossed. The material—based on interviews writer Gregory Burke held with returning troops—doesn’t preach to a liberal, anti-war audience.

3>  You never think that the actors are just actors, playing a part. The show, like a real theater of war, runs on intense physical and mental concentration. (sidenote: many of the current cast have relatives that have served in the Black Watch, which has to resonate).

4>  Magically, the combination of music, movement, and narrative adds up to more than its individual elements. This is what theater is supposed to be, but doesn’t always hit the mark.

5>  If you missed Black Watch in 2007 or 2008, you’ve got another chance (and maybe this is the last one).

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