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Court drama's stage show has twist
[April 15, 2011]

Court drama's stage show has twist

Apr 14, 2011 (Charleston Daily Mail - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Forget Demi Moore. Forget Jack Nicholson. And difficult though it may be, forget Tom Cruise.

This isn't your 1992 Rob Reiner movie version of "A Few Good Men." Kanawha Players director Stevie Brigode said she has been reminding her cast of that all through rehearsals for the stage version of the military drama.

For one thing, they aren't Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Keiffer Sutherland or any of the other big names that appeared in the movie version.

"One of my actors came in with the DVD in her hand and I said, 'Put that back in your car,' " Brigode said.

For another thing, the two versions are different.

"When we were going through auditions, they did comment that the dialogue was so similar," Brigode said. "However, there is a major plot twist. The resolution of this is different from the resolution of the movie." Interestingly, Aaron Sorkin wrote both the stage version and the movie version from a story based on real life. Brigode believes he wisely made changes in the two versions knowing that on stage, certain scenes would play out much differently than in the world of movies.

At its heart, "A Few Good Men" is the story of a Navy lawyer who bucks top brass to defend two young Marines being court-martialed for murder. They contend they were ordered to haze their fellow Marine through a "code red," or secret order issued by their superiors.

Brigode, a veteran director, said the show, selected by a play reading committee, wouldn't have been her personal choice.

"I tried to talk them out of it," she said. "I said, 'Don't you have a comedy you'd like done?' I really was in the mood to do a comedy.

"Boy, this has been a challenge and an adventure." Brigode said she's been amazed at how the cast stepped up for the show. A retired Marine, Kevin Lester plays Private First Class Louden Downey, one of the accused Marines.

"He's borrowed stuff for us and he has really helped everybody," she said.

When the costume budget fell short, cast members raised money to rent what was needed and even bought some items such as fatigues and boots.

"And as soon as that stuff came in the mail, they started wearing it," she said. "They've embraced the whole thing." And while she's not directing the comedy she really wanted to, Brigode said there are plenty of laughs to be had off stage.

"They're a hysterical group," she said.

Contact writer Monica Orosz at or 348-4830.

To see more of the Charleston Daily Mail, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2011, Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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