From the moment the lights come up in The Warrior, we’re in the middle of a war, we’re just never entirely sure if we’re safe behind enemy lines. Theatre of the First Amendment’s production of The Warrior is a surprisingly fascinating look into the secret world of PTSD with a gripping performance by Marietta Hedges.
Tammy (Marietta Hedges) is angry. Although she considers that she is “too angry to self-destruct,” if that is any relief. Tammy arrives on set to film a documentary, toting a military bag of tricks, and instantly we’re swept up on a wild ride of emotions concerning her experiences in Iraq, her recent separation, and the custody of her teenage daughter.
Hedges ticks powerfully and viscerally, captivating the audience as the character unravels. It’s like hearing the thunder and knowing that the lightning will come, it’s just a matter of when… Giselle (Mary Lechter), a high-school friend of Tammy’s and also the director of the movie, is positioned somewhere behind the audience, we only hear her detached voice. This choice creates a dissonance between the characters, and doesn’t help us get any closer to Tammy, as the entire audience takes the bullet when she vehemently retorts to the interviewer’s questions.
Other elements incorporated by playwright Jack Gilhooley, and director Kevin Murray, such as the use of puppets, are a tad distracting and seem incongruous. As much as we want to empathize with this woman deeply, completely justified by the compelling performance by Hedges, we can’t help but watch her actions as one would a kind of scientific experiment. Perhaps the devices are purposeful, in the Brechtian sense, to keep us objective observers, as a good documentary would do.
- Running Time: 70 Minutes
- Tickets: The Warrior
- Remaining Shows: Fri, July 25 at 8:30 . Sat, July 26 at 5:45 . Sun, July 27 at 7
- Where: Flashpoint, 916 G Street, NW