For a play whose characters spend considerable time standing at attention — or hovering, with disciplined posture, near a testifying witness — there’s an impressive physical dynamism to the Keegan Theatre’s “A Few Good Men.” Aaron Sorkin’s banter-threaded potboiler is a courtroom drama, a genre that can all too easily come off as static. And yet, as directed by Jeremy Skidmore, this entertaining production brims with movement, directional shifts and evolving perspectives. Sitting in the audience, you can almost feel the military establishment bustling around you.
The patriotism, zeal and flaws of that establishment are hinted at in Steven Royal’s striking set, dominated by a massive, near-recumbent U.S. flag that slants across the stage, its fabric drooping onto a staircase at the far right. The flagpole is broad and flat, and its surface becomes a patrol spot and occasional thoroughfare for the play’s characters.
Those characters are military men and one woman, caught up in a court-martial of two Marines. While stationed at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson (Jon Hudson Odom) and Pfc. Louden Downey (Adi Stein) tied up and gagged a fellow Marine, who later died. Was the tragedy a spontaneous hazing-style incident gone wrong or an act of premeditated revenge? Were superior officers involved? Was there a coverup? Have the Marines been prioritizing loyalty over justice? These and other questions confront the defense lawyers, who become increasingly stressed after their clients refuse to accept a lenient plea deal.