OK, everybody, all together now:
You can't handle the truth!
Even if you've never seen the play or the movie A Few Good Men, you probably know that famous line.
Shouted by Lt. Col. Nathan Jessup during a court martial, it expresses his frustration at people who don't know the challenges of military life.
It's not a subtle sentence.
Yet the plot of the intense drama has its nuances and is bound to be thought-provoking, said Katie Dooley, who is directing the show for the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre this weekend and next.
I was called to the character-driven nature of the play, Dooley said, explaining why she wanted to tackle this one. Little Theatre does a lot of musicals and comedies. This one is much more serious and very timely.
It asks the question at what point do we give up on following rules and regulations in order to make sure we stay safe as a country?
At the center of the plot is the death of one Pfc. William Santiago, who expired as a result of a Code Red, a disciplinary action Jessup may have ordered two other Marines to use against him.
These are Marines in Guantanamo Bay, Dooley said. This Marine victim is just not up to par. He's just not physically capable of keeping up. The Marines looked at this as an attempt to bring him up to snuff. The two Marines bound and gagged him. Their intention was to shave his head in a hazing-type of activity. He ended up dying as a result.
A civilian might ask why not just transfer this person out?
It's very easy for us as civilians to sit back and judge, Dooley said. It's very, very different when you're on the front lines and being shot at every day.
I'm hoping the audience will get a sense of what it means to be in the military, not the sense of being in boot camp but the more psychological aspects.
Dooley said she never served in the military herself and hasn't had a family member in the service since her grandfather was in World War II.
She's grateful to cast member Scott Colin, who portrays a prosecuting attorney, for bringing a veteran's expertise to the show and helping other cast members present themselves with military bearing.
And, she predicts audiences will be enthralled by the courtroom action.
I love the courtroom scenes, watching the interplay between the actors as they drive at each other, trying to get the answers, and the witnesses not wanting to give the answers.
The play will have five shows, including a free one on Jan. 18. Every show has a military discount for active and retired personnel who have identification cards.
What: ‘A Few Good Men'
Where: Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, 537 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
When: 8 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 18 and Jan. 19; 3 p.m. Jan. 13 and Jan. 20
Tickets: $15, $12 with military discount; Jan. 18 show is free to everyone who makes reservations