Johnny Got His Gun directed by Kevin Maroney, is based upon a radio play that was broadcast in March, 1940, starring James Cagney. The radio play is an adaptation of Dalton Trumbo's novel (Trumbo was one of the "Hollywood 10," the first members of the infamous "Blacklist,") whose main character, Joe Bonham, is horribly wounded in World War I. The play brilliantly explores what happens to a mind isolated from the outside world except for a sense of touch, pain and vibration. What happens? The mind has no choice but to think, to attach to every shred of information it is lucky enough to perceive, and to be patient. What it can't prevent is the slow drift toward a kind of frustrated mania obsessing about every idea it has. The Old Deerfield Productions cast includes Nico Lawson as Joe, with James Emery, Emma Jimerson, Joan Holliday, and
AJ Maroney in the other roles. Vickie Phillips and Michael Rheault will perform some songs from the pre-World War II period as well.
Given of the graphic, controversial and current nature of the subject of the play, we will balance the evening with a conversation following the show. The conversation promises to be a symposium on the effects of war upon soldiers, a reflection on how to help our vets when they return from war, what issues must be dealt with, and the role of the arts in presenting such themes. Our conversation participants include: Bob Woodruff, former ABC World News Tonight anchor who was wounded while reporting from Iraq and founder of The Bob Woodruff Foundation, a national nonprofit that helps ensure our nation's injured service members, veterans and their families return to a homefront ready to support them (remind.org); Lee Woodruff, best selling author (THOSE WE LOVE MOST, IN AN INSTANT) , speaker, CBS Morning Show Correspondent and spouse of Bob; David Pakman, progressive radio and television program host; Buz Eisenberg, attorney for detainees at Guantanamo; Kathy Belanger, whose son Greg was one of the first soldiers killed in Iraq; Lt. Col. Hank Detering, USMC Vietnam veteran; Rev. Andrea Ayvazian,Senior Pastor of the Haydenville Congregational Church and activist in movements for social and political change since 1970; and Linda McInerney, Artistic Director of Old Deerfield Productions.