All of our American military people are committed to duty, honor and country. But the United States Marine Corps has long been just a little unique, a little stronger in terms of absolute commitment and something known to Marines as “Esprit de Corps.” Esprit de Corps is a form of power and like all power it can and sometimes is wrongfully applied. Sometimes even a true American hero can step off in a wrong direction with severely negative results.
And so when Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Jessup finds within his command a young Marine whose performance is uniformly subpar he orders that the offending Marine be given a “Code Red” with disastrous results. The young Marine inexplicably dies in the hands of two other Marines, Lance Corporal Harold W. Dawson and PFC Louden Downey both who whom end up being charged with murder. But was it murder?
A highly unlikely Navy Judge Advocate General officer, Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Kaffee [masterfully portrayed by veteran actor KC Clyde] is assigned to the case as defense counsel. At first Lt. JG Kaffee is stunned by his assignment. He is somewhat of a slacker with no actual litigation experience and not seeking any. He is joined by Lieutenant Commander Joanne Galloway who on the surface seems utterly unprepared for court room battle and Lieutenant Junior Grade Sam Weinberg. As the team of three begins delving into the case they begin to find numerous elements that just don’t add up. A series of plea bargains are discussed but never accepted and the true essence of the story unfolds as Lt. JG Kaffee begins to develop into a committed litigator willing to risk his own career to give his two young Marine clients a fair trial with a proper outcome.
The play was written by Aaron Sorkin and in 1992 won four Oscars in the film A Few Good Men starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon. It was and remains a great movie and this play is in every way its equal with exquisite performances by each and every actor with a truly stand out performance by KC Clyde as Lt. JG Kaffee.
It is a masterpiece that displays the unfathomable demands that can befall any trial lawyer literally charged with the future of people’s lives. It also reveals the unique qualities that drive all military actions with a particular emphasis on the Marine Corps which truly is a little unique.
If you enjoy rich, thought provoking, powerful entertainment then this is a must see show for you. The acting is superb, the story is deeply compelling and even the audio played during scene changes is actually brilliant. I would be remiss if I did not also give a salute to the excellent efforts of the Director, Tony Pauletto.
A Few Good Men runs now through July 17th 2016 at the NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood, California. Show times are Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. You can make your reservation by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets may be purchased online at: www.afewgoodmenplay.brownpapertickets.com.
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AUTHORS NOTE: Having served in the Marine Corps as a young man and later becoming a trial lawyer I will admit to perhaps exceptional fascination with this story. One particularly powerful element is the inner strength that every Marine develops and keeps for life. Marines just don’t quit and that can literally save your life.
In 2012 I dropped dead. I was revived by some of Burbank’s finest EMT’s and transported to a hospital where I spent 26 days, most in ICU in a coma. While in that coma it was in part that voice in my head of a Drill Instructor barking at me to get up and get out that indeed helped push me up and out and back to my loving family and good health. Marines don’t quit. Semper Fidelis. You can, if you wish read all about that experience and much more in my book Live Die, Live Again available at Lulu.com or Amazon.com.
Photos by Andreas Lyon
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.