A Report of Gunfire

About the Play
Cast and Crew
in times of war, silence can be deadly...

About the Play

A journalist in a war zone. A translator in his homeland. Together, they cover the story of a lifetime. What happens when that story--and the war zone--spirals out of control?

Written by David J. Loehr, directed by Joel David Santner, the Lethal Theatre Company production of A Report of Gunfire is a one man show starring Dan Crane as the journalist. He's been covering the current situation in Iraq since before the occupation. Over the course of the play, we see how that story shapes and changes his understanding of the world around him. And we see how he learns to connect with other people.

"It's not so much a play about politics or even this specific war," said the playwright. "It's about one man in isolation, at least at first. He has no connection to the outside world, no family, few friends. In some ways, that makes him the ideal person to send in to cover a story like this. But in the course of covering the story, he meets people, he makes new friends, he sees the forest and the trees. He wonders at the cost of human life and discovers how his own has been devalued by his own personal isolation."

The play is set in and out of Baghdad, between 2003 and 2008, but the setting could be during any conflict, any war, any occupation. "The script does touch on some specifics in this conflict," said the playwright, "but, for the most part, this could be set in Vietnam, Germany, anywhere at any time. It deals with war itself and its immediate impact on one or two people." By setting the play in Iraq, the playwright was able to benefit from certain aspects of this situation. "There is some concern that people are ignoring what's going on, that the news media isn't getting the whole story out there, whether through ignorance or ennui. Life happens, the world moves on. So to some extent, the script is also about the importance of paying attention."

The Ten Minute Play

The script started out as a ten minute play, produced by the Riverrun Theatre Company as part of the Third Annual Louisville Playwrights' Festival at the Frazier International History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky in March 2006.

This version is similar to what is now the first scene of the show. It features Nick Newell in the role of the journalist. It was directed by Jim Stark.

At one point, the journalist makes reference to Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor reporter who had been abducted in January of that year. At the time of writing, she was still missing. Hours before this performance went on, she was released, which meant rewriting one line. It was a good reason to have to revise.

Maybe a little more than half of this version remains in the current script. The playwright lost one of his favorite lines, but that's life. There is no translator, and the "report" in the title refers to a different news report entirely. It also ends very differently. Naturally, given the difference in length, the journalist has more of a story arc in the current version. But this is a little glimpse into the development process, showing how a good ten minute play can evolve into a good--and very different--full length play.

In case you're wondering, the opening song in this clip is Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by Pete Seeger, performed by Richard Shindell. Follow the link to purchase the song at iTunes, if you'd like.





© 2006-2008 David J. Loehr |