A Few Good Men

It is perhaps one of the most familiar movie catchphrases in recent history. Jack Nicholson, in full military regalia, sitting in a courtroom, shouting at Tom Cruise. “You can’t handle the truth,” he says. The truth is, the well-known movie A Few Good Men was a stage play first. And it’s back on an area stage at Little Theater of Fall River.

Director Kathy Castro notes that she fell in love with the story when the movie came out. “I thought the story was sensational and so relevant; and the acting was great!  It would be difficult to say how many times I’ve seen it since. Twenty-plus, easily, and each time, I learn something new.  It is a masterful piece of writing, and Aaron Sorkin is a masterful storyteller.”

       A few years ago, Castro learned of the play version and right away wanted to direct it, putting it before the play selection committee in 2010. She notes that the play comes with great name-recognition, partly due to that already-mentioned catchphrase. The playwright also has something to do with it. Castro notes, “In these ensuing 20 years since the film, Aaron Sorkin has also become quite famous through his work on the TV series, The West Wing and his many Academy-Award nominations and wins for film screenplays.  Last year he won for Social Network, and this year he was nominated again for Moneyball.”

Having spent more than a year researching in preparation, Castro says she has read everything she could find on the original production of the play in 1988. She’s also done a lot of research on military protocol. She says, “Sorkin started to write A Few Good Men on the back of cocktail napkins when he worked as a bartender in the Broadway district of NYC in the 1980’s.  His sister, who was a member of the Navy JAG Corps stationed atGuantanamo, told him a story about a hazing incident on the base, and that became the basis for the play.”

“Be it the military or any other large organization, there is a need for constant vigilance about how “business” is done,” Castro says. “It’s very easy for situations to get out of hand because people get out of hand and lose sight of what they should be doing – and why…That’s the real lesson of A Few Good Men:  they challenged the wrong, against big obstacles, and they won!”

In terms of what is morally right and wrong, Castro says there should be no difference in or outside the military. “When people break the law, and justify that their actions are ok – that’s wrong – military included.”

Castro calls her cast and crew a “dream to work with,” including the nineteen actors and one actress. “We’ve been rehearsing twice per week, often for three hours, and that has worked.  We did a military Training Day in January to learn how to stand, salute, march, drill, etc. We have some members of the cast who have served in the Armed Services, and they were very helpful.”

“The show is written like a movie, with very fast scene changes, so that has been a challenge,” Castro says, “But everyone is helping, making suggestions, working as team.  What director could ask for more?”

A Few Good Men runs  March 8 through March 11

at Little Theatre of Fall River

Visit www.littletheatre.net

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