Oscar Hadley, a major in the British Army, is investigating murder charges against a company at the front, somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan. An 8-year-old boy in a village was thrown down a well, his mother was shot, and the most likely suspect is Edward Clark, a headstrong, emotionally volatile 20-year-old private who was arrested in possession of a gun that he had not fired.
Hadley compares that conundrum with the enigma of Gettysburg, where history tells us that nearly 90 percent of some 27,000 guns recovered after the battle were found to be fully loaded, ready to be fired. "Surely if someone is shooting at you, then the first thing you do," he muses, "is to shoot back? Why were there so many unfired guns?"
There's more for Hadley to unravel as Clark's tale unfolds in an all-star rehearsed reading that's a benefit for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA.org). Joseph Megel directs Common Wealth Endeavors' artistic director, Gregor McElvogue, and Lucius Robinson (in a rare regional appearance) in this dramatic 2012 two-hander about duty, damage and a culture's unwillingness to address the psychological toll of modern warfare. —Byron Woods