In assembling his cast for Washington DC-based Keegan Theatre’s production of A Few Good Men, director Jeremy Skidmore was keen to distance the hit Broadway play from the subsequent hugely successful 1992 film version starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.
“The first thing I did was to cast an Iranian-American actor in the role of Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee which was played on the screen by Tom Cruise,” says Skidmore. “I saw the film years ago and consciously didn’t watch it again. Some of the cast hadn’t seen it and I encouraged them not to see it.”
Mr Skidmore says the play “beautifully shows the structure and sense of family and belonging that people can get by joining the military. There’s that sense of discipline and camaraderie”.
It also reveals the difference between someone being tried in a civilian court as opposed to being tried in a military court. “A military court is completely comprised of military personnel so they start with a specific focus as to what is right and wrong from a military perspective. That’s not necessarily the same as what the average person considers to be right and wrong. The marine code of honour states that the most important thing is service to your country. That’s more important than God.”
Skidmore says the trickiest thing about this play is that it has over 30 scenes. “It’s written like a screenplay. The biggest challenge is giving some truth to all of those senses of places and also, keeping it moving so that you’re not constantly watching transitions taking place.”
Skidmore has his work cut out for him but is more than capable of rising to the challenge.