Black Watch | Broadway Armory Park | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 10 2011
Price: $38-$45
A tour de force about a tour of duty. In 2004, during the Iraq war, the UK's fabled Scottish regiment, the Black Watch, was deployed to a forward operating base between Fallujah and Karbala. It was a controversial move because the Scotsmen were being pulled away from the rest of the British contingent to support American marines. It was a dangerous one because that area, which became known as the Triangle of Death, was the locus of a ferocious resistance. Based on interviews with veterans but miles beyond docudrama, Gregory Burke's play is a foul, painful, exquisite look at what the men of the regiment experienced. This touring production from the National Theatre of Scotland touches on everything from their fighting tradition to their PTSD, their tribal culture to their adolescent horniness. A great deal of what Black Watch has to say is familiar from other grunt-level accounts of imperial adventures like the one in Iraq. What's stunning is that so much of it is said, eloquently, through music and movement. Steven Hoggett's choreography, in particular, amounts to a language--tender in its evocation of a soldier's feelings as he reads a letter from home, darkly satirical in its quick sketch of the regimental history, at once electrifying and mournful in its depiction of battle. The all-male cast can be lunkish, graceful, or both--they're beautiful when they're angry--but they always convey an overwhelming sense of what theater people call "ensemble" and soldiers of the Black Watch apparently refer to as the "golden thread." --Tony Adler


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