By: E&P Staff
In a major surprise, Tim Robbins’ play “Embedded,” about U.S. reporters and soldiers during the Iraq war, will open Feb. 24 at the Public Theater in New York. Robbins will direct the play, as he did last fall in Los Angeles, but will not star in it.
New promotion for the play (which E&P first reviewed last October) describes it as “a ripped-from-the-headlines satire about the madness surrounding the brave women and men on the front lines in a Middle East conflict. [It] skewers cynical embedded journalists, scheming government officials, a show-tune singing colonel, and the media’s insatiable desire for heroes.”
The play is dedicated, according to Robbins, to Joe Strummer, the late leader of punk rock group The Clash.
“Embedded” had its world premiere on Nov. 15, 2003, at The Actors’ Gang Theater in Los Angeles, where Robbins is artistic director.
Robbins told The New York Times today: “People have been questioning my patriotism, and that gets your attention. I grew up on the streets of New York, so I think in a survival mode. If you attack me, I’m going to respond.”
The play portrays a U.S. attack on the fictional nation of Gomorrah. One of the play’s chief characters is a Colonel Hardchannel who berates American journalists as maggots and tells them they must submit all reports to him. “If a Babylonian granary is bombed,” he thunders, “it is to be called a poison factory.” He also encourages photographers to shoot close-ups of mass graves, but avoid taking photos of casualties caused by the Americans.
There are also characters clearly based on Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Jessica Lynch. Robbins says the play is in the “punk” spirit of “rude” satire.