is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Friday, June 25, 2010

James Brown Can Handle the Truth

A few months ago when James Brown opened a one-act play he'd written called HIGHER EDUCATION, he was the lead actor, co-starring with another favored child of the local arts scene: the one, the only, Ms. Donna Ison (who was one of my first blog subjects and who has a new project opening tonight at Fourth Friday).  As they took the stage at the theater located in the Library downtown,  Lexington's literati turned out to show their support, including many from the Holler Poets Series, and it was intriguing  to witness the un-gentle dialogue my gentle friend had written and to watch the audience enjoy his work.  James is not just a good fellow, he's very talented, well spoken, and he puts people at ease -- yep, the world could use a lot more of people like James Brown.

Brown's hair is always a little longish, he has that hippie mystique about him, so I was more than a little surprised when he told me he had auditioned for Bluegrass Community & Technical College's production of A FEW GOOD MEN.

This time around, he doesn't play the lead role, but his character is integral to the plot.  James explains, "I play Markinson.  Markinson is Jessup's 2nd in command who resigns his commission to help the defense.  He provides the key piece of evidence and then promptly kills himself."

Brown likes the fact that Markinson is honest and loyal and in search of the truth.  "He knows that Dawson and Downey are good Marines who deserve respect and he sees that Jessup is just using them as pawns."  However, the down side of that insight takes its toll. "He gives up, in a sense.  His suicide in the end seems quite unnecessary, as he is a talented espionage agent, who could disappear forever at a moment's notice.  So why the suicide?  Also, as a military person, he is in a lot of ways bound to support Jessup's bullshit.  So he says what Jessup needs him to say from time to time and slips into the shadows to help Dawson and Downey."

As a playwright, James brings a unique perspective to the script. "A FEW GOOD MEN is a plot driven piece of work, designed to be an enjoyable thriller, and I think it succeeds very well.  It's got humor, twists and turns and room for marvelous performances (Kendrick's speech to the corporals is my favorite scene).  I don't think there's any 'message', per se, just a well-plotted piece of story telling."

Although he is loving every minute on stage with Tim X Davis' cast and crew, James tells me he is keeping up his writing chops. "I'm re-writing a one act play, 'The Ransom of Ched Reefer', hopefully we'll have it up at the library in August (not official or anything, just what we're aiming for).  Also, I'm on the committee of 517 Playwrights Short Play Competition which will be produced in the first week of November.  I have decided to not submit a piece, but I will be directing one of the plays and (perhaps) producing the whole festival.  In fact, there's a week or so left for submissions to the contest, so if Kimmyville readers would like to submit something, that would be great!"

At tonight's performance, I will be interested to see how BCTC's talented troupe see the entire play through to the end. At rehearsal last week, I intentionally did not stay to hear Tim X say, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"  -- nor did I stay to watch the work through to its conclusion.  I never do, because, well, I guess it's true...I can't handle the truth!  Also, every once in a while, I like to show some restraint...makes life a little more fun that way.  However, I will be in the audience tonight, cheering for A FEW GOOD MEN...and for James, my friend, who is one of the best guys I know.  Break a leg, Mr. Brown!

A FEW GOOD MEN opened last night at the Downtown Arts Center and will be presented again tonight, Saturday and Sunday.  (Just call 859.225.0370 to reserve a ticket - they are only $12 - more details's the best entertainment deal in town, trust me :) 


Co-Directed by Tim X. Davis and Jared K. Sloan

A Few Good Men, written by Aaron Sorkin, tells the story of military lawyers at a court-martial who uncover a high-level conspiracy in the course of defending their clients, United States Marines accused of murder.


Cpl. Dawson- Kevin Greer
Pfc. Downey- Jared Sloan
Lt. Sam Weinberg- Charles Bruin
Lt. Daniel Kaffee- Zack Hightower
Lt. Cmdr. Jo Galloway- Hayley Williams
Capt. Whitaker- Katie Jo Cox
Capt. Matthew Markinson- James Brown
Pfc William Santiago- Carlos Pelayo
Lt. Col Nathan Jessup- Tim X Davis
Lt. Jon Kendrick- Jeremy Gillett
Lt. Jack Ross- Ryan Hastings
Cpl. Jeffery Howard- Alex Saunders
Judge Randolph- Vincent Harris
Dr. Walter Stone- Bret Ripley

“Swing” players
(playing multiple MP’s/ Marines/ Lawyers/etc…)
Christina Duong
Angel Beltran
Chris Webb

Stage Manager - Aly Miller
Assistant Stage Managers - Laura Burton, Leah Dick

Ticket prices are $12 for general admission
LexArts Box Office
Downtown Arts Center (DAC)
141 East Main Street
Lexington, KY 40507

Performance Dates:

June 24th - 26th at 7:30pm

Matinee performance on Sunday, June 27th at 2pm

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