A show like “An Interrogation Primer” stands, to a certain degree, above critical scrutiny. It is just a 35 minute monologue, delivered on another show’s stage, performed with simplicity and directness. To niggle about production values or story arc does a disservice to the material. A communique from the front lines of the war on terror like this should not be ignored by any US citizen with voting rights.
An Interrogation Primer was first published in an anthology compiled by Warrior Writers, an organization that holds writing workshops for veterans. Director Eric Ziegenhagen describes the piece aptly in his director’s note:
“The entire piece is written in the second person, which means that it gets around being either a first-person confession or a third-person piece of journalism. It is both and neither. The piece has its own unique way of getting to the truth of the situation, without the sensationalism or voyeurism of a re-enactment.”
The abovementioned truth is that of an Army interrogator, charged with determining the guilt or innocence of detainees culled from the populations of Middle Eastern countries that the US military occupies. People who are not quite Prisoners of War, who may or may not be Enemy Combatants; people who may be guilty of something that is NOT attacking American military and property, but is certainly seen as illegal to someone; old men, young boys, women. They receive training and guidance from people who have never conducted an interrogation personally, who do not speak any form of Arabic, who have never been to the Middle East or seen combat. They send people to places like Abu Graib. And they do it ten hours a day, seven days a week.
Supposedly, in this country, we all have a voice in government. We all have the opportunity to state our opinion, in a public forum, on how we act as a nation, and interact with other nations. I consider a report like this to be essential material for anyone who would like to make an informed decision about US military actions in the Middle East. Go see this show. Do your homework on the war. And vote in the next election.