Last weekend I saw Aaron Sorkin’s play A Few Good Men at the Citadel Theatre. Maybe I should have bought a season subscription, but I was more excited about some of the offerings than others, and I couldn’t buy a subscription on line or see the prices by the time I thought about it. So I got one really fabulous seat for the first performance, instead. (Row C, centre).
I never saw the movie, so I didn’t know more than the basics of the story beforehand. I thought it was really good. The thing that impressed me the most was that although everyone was in uniform with the bearing of military personnel and the expressionless faces of enlisted Marines, the actors managed to convey a lot of information about the characters just in small changes in stance or facial movement. And because we knew that they weren’t going to make those things obvious, the audience (or at least me) was working hard at paying attention.
The set was not elaborate but it set the mood and it made it easy to tell which scenes happened in which location. It made use of a rotating thing in the middle of the stage to bring different bits to the front.
The story had a satisfying resolution, but it also brought up a bunch of more complicated questions about right and wrong. And I liked it that the one female character (Lora Brovold), her story didn’t turn into a romance.
Since then, I’ve also watched the 1992 movie, which is full of famous actors. It was good, and very similar, but I actually preferred watching the play. Because instead of letting me find out from scratch who the characters were, it felt like the Jack Nicholson character was just loudly Jack Nicholson, and so on. Again, I was hugely relieved that although the Demi Moore and Tom Cruise characters come to respect each other, they didn’t end up romantically engaged.