Liz on Theatre

'American Hero' explores with powerful performances

9c43d65b40a0b8a20f26_GSP_AmericanHero_238_72dpi.jpg
630f3ddb8e4866d8e45c_GSP_AmericanHero_238_300dpi.jpg
6aad66a23c959c5a08a7_GSP_AmericanHero_232_72dpi.jpg
dd79cacb7c87453fc8ca_GSP_AmericanHero_232_300dpi.jpg
631aef7aea73755d01c4_GSP_AmericanHero_221_72dpi.jpg
3bcce29a600ee1f31410_GSP_AmericanHero_221_300dpi.jpg
27c921d09423d25c0e7c_GSP_AmericanHero_149_72dpi.jpg
5abe359e445851696d96_GSP_AmericanHero_149_300dpi.jpg
219f742c1ac6bfbc2052_GSP_AmericanHero_093_72dpi.jpg
596705c9fb2fec211b5b_GSP_AmericanHero_093_300dpi.jpg
6e1e779021400ba32033_GSP_AmericanHero_088_72dpi.jpg
957017225500069f1675_GSP_AmericanHero_088_300dpi.jpg
b9611ed2886fb76c3987_GSP_AmericanHero_066_72dpi.jpg
7efcf70edcec3e2ab365_GSP_AmericanHero_066_300dpi.jpg
9c43d65b40a0b8a20f26_GSP_AmericanHero_238_72dpi.jpg

‘American Hero’ pulses with tension, clashing emotions at George Street

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNWICK – The issue of social injustice makes its way into “American Hero,” the second play in a trilogy by Christopher Demo-Brown.

Sign Up for E-News

Armand Schultz as Rob is to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions during the Iraq war. Although he lost the use of his legs, he made it home to be with his daughter, who will soon go to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Kally Duling as the daughter has the sass for the part, although by the end of the play you can see her perspective changing.

This is all due to Mary, played with vigor by Lainona Michelle. We learn that she saved Rob, who was injured during the fighting. But a later scene shows Rob interrogating an Iraqi woman in what must be water boarding.  And there are questions about those actions.

The play shifts back and forth in time and location, starting with soldiers fighting, bombs exploding and machine gun fire. Then Rob is visited by various military men, all played by John Bolger.  The general announces how proud he is of Rob’s actions and that he will be set for life because of winning the medal of honor.

But when Mary visits his home back in the states, we learn that there was more to this heroic act than anyone realized. She has been blamed for the treatment of the Iraqi woman and was discharged from the service, basically leaving her penniless. She asks Rob to intervene for her, which is the emotional center of this taut, 95-minute production.  Michelle’s devastating performance builds in intensity as the truth comes out.

The play has a lot to say about the way veterans are treated and how our perceptions may be misleading.  David Saint has directed the production with seamless attention to its pacing and personalities. David Murin’s costumes, Christopher J. Bailey’s lighting, Scott Killians sound design and Jason Simms versatile set help keep us constantly engages.

Saint notes that the American Theatre Critics Association has awarded the play a Citation of Merit.  In an interview, playwright Demos-Brown has said he likes characters who make choices he doesn’t expect, language that shifts registers on a dime and contemporary American speech heightened with poetry. He brings all this and more to a disturbing, thought provoking view of war and its aftermath. This riveting production explores the price paid by those in the military in defending our freedoms.

“American Hero” continues at George Street Playhouse through Feb. 25. For tickets, call 732-246-7717 or visit GeorgeStreet Playhouse.org.

 

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

New Jersey Launches NJ ABLE to Help Individuals with Disabilities Save for Expenses

June 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson on Monday announced the launch of a major new program to help individuals with disabilities become more independent and better thrive in their communities.  

With the newly launched NJ ABLE program, individuals with disabilities can save tax-free for eligible expenses such as education, housing and ...

East Brunswick Public Library Hosts “Beginner Coder” Program Series for Adults

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Due to popular demand, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) is offering “Beginner Coder for Adults,” a program series to teach the basics of computer coding for the internet this July.

Led by guest lecturer Preeti Gupta, the classes focus on teaching basic web technologies including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. After completing this ...

EBPL Open on Summer Sundays

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Due to an increase in demand of library usage, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive) is extending Sunday hours throughout July.

The library plans on using the additional hours to host more library programming and provide services to the community, including passports, access to the computer lab and EB Create makerspace, and ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...