'A Few Good Men' overcomes opening night jitters

Review: Aaron Sorkin's play, performed by Not Another Theater Company, lives up to its name.

It's hard to shake first night jitters. The anxiety of having an audience for the first time brings about strange phenomenon. Lines stick to the roof of your mouth like peanut butter. You race through the first scenes, sprinting towards intermission. Jokes that have lost their punch after endless rehearsals illicit comforting laughs, causing the corners of your mouth to curl up in pride.

Photo: Courtesy of Amelia Beamish Photography
Kaffee (Jordan glaski) confronts Dawson (Joel Miscione) in NATC's A Few Good Men.

The only speed bump for Not Another Theater Company’s production of A Few Good Men, by Aaron Sorkin, was opening night jitters.Granted, I attended the press night so it was not officially their opening night, but it was still their first performance with an audience.

The first ten minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour show frightened me. Every character onstage either stepped over another’s lines or rushed through their own. This, combined with loud chatter backstage, made me wonder if I was going to enjoy this production.

Thankfully, I was proven wrong.

As the actors relaxed into their characters, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be counting down the minutes until curtain call. The large cast delivered one snarky Sorkin line after another with comic precision. The more dramatic moments, which are plentiful in a play about a murder in the marines, were handled with great sincerity.

Jordan Glaski played the smart-mouthed JAG officer Daniel Kaffee with a Tom Cruise-like playfulness. With his dark combover and short stature, he was a Cruise look-a-like. Glaski accented lines such as “Was that 0600 in the morning, sir?” and “The Cuba thing, sure,” with frat boy charm; only instead of beer he chugged Yoo-Hoo's. His chemistry with the straight-laced Lt. Joanne “Jo” Galloway, played by Katie Deferio, and the loveable Lt. Sam Weinberg, played by James Uva, was palpable.

“Unit, Corp, God, Country.” That is the mantra of the Marines and every actor who portrayed a Marine in this production personified it to a tee. As the borderline psychopathic Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup, Joe Pierce was terrifying. His character came alive through his sadistic offering of gumballs and the crazed look in his eyes. The line “I'm a fair guy, but this f------ heat is driving me crazy,” sent a chill down my spine.

The two marines being tried for murder, Lance Cpt. Harold Dawson and Pfc. Louden Downey, represented two polar extremes. As Dawson, Joel Miscione was a pillar of strength willing to die (or at least go to jail) for unit, corp, God, and country. As Downey, Jesse Navagh's eyes practically bulged out of his head with fear. Unlike his counterpart, Downey is unwilling to accept his dire fate. Both actors had quite the challenge because their characters required subtelties; with very few lines between them, their portrayals relied heavily on facial expressions.

Aaron Sorkin's script is an undertaking. Whether you are attending or producing a Sorkin play, you expect to have mile-a-minute speech, great comedic and dramatic timing, and a lot of quick scene changes. This cast's greatest challenge was the small size of the stage. With a cast of at least 20 people, a stage less than thirty feet wide simply does not cut it. There were a few moments when cast members tripped off the stage and many more when they walked into each other's light. The set itself did not live up to the power of the script either. Comprised of simply a desk draped with an American flag, plastic chairs, and an army camo painted backdrop, the set was not half as polished as the acting.

Despite the rough start, the cast eased into the speedy Sorkin pace. Among the large cast, Glaski, Deferio, and Pierce stood out. Having gotten over the problems of opening night, A Few Good Men is ready for action.

Go to the show

Not Another Theater Company's production of A Few Good Men runs through Oct. 1. For more information visit their website at http://www.natcshow.com

A few good men

This was a VERY entertaining play. The actors were ALL very good and played their parts to a tee! Jordan was exceptionally good and i would go see another play and bring friends without a doubt. thank you for the wonderful entertainment. Hats off to all of you!

A Few Good Men

Lift you head and lift it high, A Few Good Men of Not Another Theater Company, are marching by....The Marine Drill Sarge

A Few Good Men by Mary Gibble

What a great review by this Mary Gibble...I just loved the spirit of her language and vocabulary....it drew me totally in as the reader...I can't wait to see it!  I look forward to hearing more from this raw young talent...

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