Guantanamo: honor bound to defend freedom
Unlike news reports, theater isn't expected to stick to the facts. By nature, the form is duplicitous, built on a sandy foundation of make-believe and pretense. Good documentary drama exploits its inherent paradox: Creating artifice from verbatim texts, it uncovers truths by playing on the tension between what's real and what's invented. Typically, it reveals not only the unfolding of a troubling event but also--by exposing a gap between history and its representation--gives us the critical distance to assess the contradictions, hows and whys of that unfolding.
Perhaps it's too early to achieve such critical distance on the US interrogation camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where some 500 men deemed "enemy combatants" in the "war on terror" are being held without charges in 8-by-10-foot metal cages, often shackled, isolated, subjected to abuse and, until the Supreme Court ruling on June 28, lacking recourse to challenge their detention. At least that's what the makers of Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom seem to have decided. Created in London at the Tricycle Theatre, and currently running at the Culture Project in downtown Manhattan, this moving chronicle, focusing on four men from England snatched from their lives and thrown into detention, concerns itself primarily with telling the appalling tale.
The first of three acts offers the Kafkaesque accounts of how the men came to be arrested: With wit and simmering rage, Wahab …