Jon Hudson Odom plays Dawson with an unwavering air of outraged nobility. His jaw is always set, his chin is always raised, his eyes are always narrowed by indignation.
On the surface, [Colonel Nathan] Jessep epitomizes the macho military code. He says things like, “If you’ve never gotten a blowjob from a superior officer, you’re letting the best things in life pass you by.” But Mark Rhea’s performance suggests that other forces are at work beneath the surface. Rhea makes Jessep seem stiffly self-aware all the time, as if he were always working on his image and never satisfied with it…Rhea’s performance undercuts Jessep’s machismo with a sense of insecurity that makes you wonder what he thinks of himself, and of the orders he gives, and of the people who follow them.
Director Jeremy Skidmore and set designer Steven Royal nationalize the moral dilemmas in this play by filling much of the space with a huge American flag. It occupies about a third of the stage. Royal has folded and rippled the flag as the wind might ripple it, and he’s attached it to a pole-like structure that’s falling.