Naomi Wallace’s “In the Heart of America,” a play documenting her reaction to the Gulf War, opened to a packed house Wednesday night.
Weaving together the lives of five individuals plagued by the horrors of war, the play focuses on Craver Perry, played by Davey White, and Remzi Saboura, played by Kevin Prowse. Both Perry and Saboura are serving in the Saudi Desert during the Gulf War.
Never inviting much attention until recently, the play results in a raw and intense portrait of love and longing, which director Seth Rozin feels is extremely relevant today as fighting continues in Iraq.
“I want [the audience] to think about what it means to be involved in violence,” said Rozin, who hopes the play’s bolder edge will appeal to a younger audience. “The play expresses the ravages of violence on the literal and figurative world.”
One of the most challenging aspects of the play’s production was creating a realistic flow from the ephemeral spirit world, inhabited by Vietnam ghost Lue Ming (Jennifer Kato), to the harsh climate of war where Craver and Remzi wrestle with their clandestine love for each other and their own purpose in the war.
“It was so hard to touch upon all the different subjects,” said Soraya Broukhim, who playsFairouz Saboura, Remzi’s sister plagued by his mysterious disappearance. “It was a challenge.”
“There are three kinds of people,” Fairouz says during the play. “Those who kill, those who die and those who watch.”
Though each character struggles with a different aspect of his or her mortality, it seemes as though everyone in the play embodies each of those types of people. To the characters, war doesn’t just carry the consequences of literal death. War brings a deeper emotional destruction that kills the soul while the body continues living.
As with most shows performed by the InterAct Theatre Company, rehearsal lasted less than four weeks. According to Rozin, the play was selected for its social and political context and its adherence to the company’s mission to educate, as well as entertain, through thought-provoking works.
Rozin points out that it also provided an opportunity to showcase the talents of the production staff. With dramatic lighting and sound and simple set design, their vision fostered rather than interrupted, the actors’ talents.
White received his MFA from Temple University, as well as lighting designer Peter Jakubowski and set designer Dirk Durossette, who has also designed for Temple’s Opera Theater.
InterAct Theatre Company, located at 2030 Sansom St., will run “In the Heart of America” through March 14. Tickets, ranging from $22 to $25, can be picked up at the box office. Discounts are available. The play is performed every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information, call (215) 568-8077.
Sara Getz can be reached at email@example.com