He Tried to Be Good

Writer/director Tommie Powell served in the military in the early ‘60s, and like many a soldier found himself disheartened by senseless rules and abuses of power. The first act of his play is a series of vignettes dedicated to those frustrations. Subtitled The True Story of a Soldier Boy Who Ignited a Mutiny, it focuses on Saint, a young, brilliant recruit in the Army Security Agency, formerly a division of the NSA. While Saint’s intentions are good, his inability or unwillingness to conform leads to trouble. The second act could conceivably be its own play. While monitoring radio waves in a secret military bunker on West Germany’s Czech border, the ASA receives an order from President Johnson that Saint recognizes as unreasonable and potentially dangerous. If Powell’s story is accurate—and he says it is—then a few army boys may very well have prevented WWIII. As a piece of theater, He Tried could be tightened; the script is occasionally repetitive, and at just under two hours, it feels longer than necessary. Yet the story is fascinating and undoubtedly deserves to be told. BRENT ARONOWITZ 7:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends March 2.

Saturdays, Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Feb. 16. Continues through March 2, 2008

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