59E59 presents this drama that carries us between a suburban basement and the jungles of the Vietnam War, exploring of the complexity and persistence of memory. More…
With text sparked by 'Trojan Women,' 'Occupied Territories' exposes a world where a man must finally face his past, his God, his family. When Jude enters her estranged father’s basement on the night of his funeral she unleashes his secret past. As she digs, two worlds collide, challenging everything she always believed about her family.
"A heart-stopping production…Be warned: It is harrowing...The most compelling and revealing moments are those where panic and rage and cruelty grab hold of the men, when they are at their most vulnerable...Kudos must extend to all involved in this remarkable play...A revelatory work, both in its conception and in its delivery. Seeing it in the intimate setting...is a blistering theatrical experience, one that will be hard to shake off for a very long time.” Full Review
“The show features inventive staging, riveting dialogue, and an outstanding cast...It is timely and important...The actors master their individual roles and provide an intimate view of the anguish, terror, and bravery that exists in war...A production that deserves all the praise we can give it...It not only is an insightful view of the ravages of war and the difficulties that veterans and their families can encounter, but it is an extraordinary production...It is a show that will go far.” Full Review
"Searing, profoundly trenchant...The production effectively wrangles our feelings as it conveys the suspense of soldiers’ combat in a war zone...The production’s poignancy, heartbreak, and riveting action move in an intense forward motion with no let-up...Solidly written...Kudos to to the writers, director, cast, artists, and designers, for pulling this production into the heavens and plummeting it into sheer hell. It is unforgettable." Full Review
"The play is powerful and engrossing, also an entertainment. You’ll be moved and shaken, but it’s not preachy. Go...There isn’t a weak link in the acting. All the women are credible. Jude’s habitual bitterness and battle with addiction are nuanced, rather than overtly expressed, compounding tension. The men exude brotherhood, fear, and determination...Writing by Bannon and Maxner is muscular, feeling, ugly, and evocative." Full Review
“A memory play strung together with grit and realism...Maxner achieves a difficult task and makes each location distinct...Bannon and Maxner have provided a very clear canvas to fill. And the actors live in their allotted worlds with great emotional reality and passion...The entire cast works together as a beautiful ensemble. This play ends in a circle that includes the audience because we were invited in from the beginning—we just didn’t know it until the end. Bravo.” Full Review
"The secret of this play's success is less in the book than the staging...The play's direction by co-writer Mollye Maxner is sharp and sensitive, and co-writer Banner's portrayal of the irresponsible Jude is unforgiving and compelling. If the start of the play is sketchy it puts across a point with clarity and force...The impact of the horrors of war is visceral in this small theater." Full Review
"A visceral and exciting new play...The military scenes are exciting, tense and persuasive, and it’s a credit to Bannon and Maxner’s writing that they are...Maxner puts the audience around the space so one feels immersed in the action...Even if elements are familiar—the drug struggle, the atrocities, the memory play device—Maxner’s production invests it all with enough that’s new, raw, and unexpected to make a visit worthwhile." Full Review
"Under Mollye Maxner’s thoughtful direction, the flashback scenes generated by memory and the basement’s detritus are both realistic and chilling...The actors portray their characters with a depth of sensitivity and metacognition...One might wish the two worlds of basement and jungle – separated by time and space – were more directly connected; however, these at best are parallel worlds...The overall effect, though challenging, is satisfactory." Full Review
“'Occupied Territories' attempts to deal with some of the issues unleashed by the war...The genius of the play lies in the staging...While the blending of loudly presented military action and what is going on in the household all these years later is very clever, it also becomes awkward at times...The authors have taken up the challenge of writing a meaningful play, and if the interaction doesn’t always work as smoothly as it should, the overall impact is dynamically and creatively there.” Full Review
“If all the elements of the production don’t completely mesh all the time, the playwrights nonetheless have an excellent ear for dialogue, and the staging with visually jolting flashback sequences that are evocatively real glimpses of the war is terrific. The scenes in Vietnam juxtaposed against the scenes at home in the cozy basement make for an often dynamic and engrossing evening." Full Review
“Sincere and heartfelt as 'Occupied Territories' is in its attempt to convey the legacy of war, whose effects live on in its participants and their progeny, neither its domestic nor wartime scenes are particularly original or believable on a more than soap opera level…The soldiers are stereotypes, their dialogue is hackneyed…The play's resolution, comforting as it may be, feels more forced than organic. All the performances are professionally smooth.” Full Review
“While ‘Occupied Territories’ is engrossing mostly for its staging which brings the action almost into the audience's laps, it becomes predictable once each event or topic is raised. The use of a family beset by drug addiction and distant parents is overly tired without offering a new slant on these familiar topics. The Vietnam scenes while not so prevalent on our stages have certainly become a cliché of action movies. ‘Occupied Territories’ is an ambitious but unsatisfying drama.” Full Review
for a previous production “Powerful and heartrending...By the end I was so emotionally devastated by what I had seen that I myself was unable to speak until a good several minutes later…The particular story ‘Occupied Territories’ tells is extraordinary...You may think you’ve seen plenty enough of the Vietnam War up close and personal...But when you experience how ‘Occupied Territories’ tells its moving, memorable, and mythic story, you’ll have to think again.” Full Review
for a previous production “A visceral and stunning new work…A swift-moving, highly emotive piece of theater that captures the ways memory shapes us, haunts us, sustains us…The scenes in the jungle are so immediate and dangerous you can practically smell the napalm…Yet, there is nothing unsurprising about these flashbacks, which explode with movement, terror and tension, ambushing your emotions…‘Occupied Territories’ sears the heart in its exploration of the cost of war.” Full Review
See it if You are open to a powerful "In the trenches" war experience and a better understanding of how the Vietnam war impacted American families
Don't see it if You are squeamish and unduly affected by occasional loud noise and strobe lights..and action within inches of the audience.
Also This was a real tour de force. don't miss it.
See it if you are comfortable with difficult scenes involving combat in Vietnam; you like to be very close to the action; you like flashbacks
Don't see it if you would be disturbed by realistic enactments of wartime fighting; you don't want to be close to the actors
See it if you are interested in expert story telling of a popular subject matter to dramatize: The Vietnam War.
Don't see it if you do not want to see a sometimes predictable & sometimes cliche plot line, despite expert story telling and some memorable performances.
See it if you can endure another play about the backlash of the Viet Nam war. Unusual flashbacks and choreographed battle scenes leave you breathless
Don't see it if you just don't want any more Viet Nam war plays, no matter how unusual or visually impressive.
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