By Tim Robbins
With reportage from John Simpson, BBC; Alan Feuer, New York Times; Robert Fisk, The Independent; and Martha Gellhorn
Co-directed by David Jenkins and Shawn Paonessa
Aug. 14 – 31, 2008
Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm
Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts
The southeastern US premiere!
Set in the fictional “Gomorrah” where American forces are preparing to do battle with “the butcher of Babylon,” Embedded is an audacious and often hilarious satire-drama about the start of the Iraq War.
Between the heavily satirized Office of Special Plans (featuring a cabal of masked characters with names like Rum-Rum, Cove, Dick and Woof) and the tenderly depicted men and women serving in the armed forces, Embedded pits the journalists – conflicted between searching for the truth and submitting their reports (and paychecks) through the many gatekeepers struggling to keep the media on the “right” side.
Through its quest to find the truth and fault across all party lines, Embedded finds its balance by incorporating actual journalistic reports from news sources such as the BBC and New York Times, some of which never made it into the American media.
The original Los Angeles production by Robbins’ own The Actors’ Gang was described as “a ripped-from-the-headlines satire about the madness surrounding the brave women and men on the front lines in a Mideast conflict. [It] skewers cynical embedded journalists, scheming government officials, a show-tune singing colonel, and the media’s insatiable desire for heroes.”
Tim Robbins interviewed embedded journalist Evan Wright of Rolling Stone and HBO’s Generation Kill as part of his research, along with Anthony Swofford, the Gulf War I veteran who wrote the popular book Jarhead. In 2003 after the premiere of this play, Robbins was greatly criticized by conservative media for his perceived lack of patriotism. The most famous contretemps involved the baseball hall of fame, who uninvited Robbins and cancelled a screening of the baseball comedy Bull Durham.
Robbins is known in Hollywood for both his acting (Mystic River, Bob Roberts, Short Cuts) and his directing (Dead Man Walking, Cradle Will Rock.) Formed in 1981, The Actors’ Gang has produced 68 plays, six of which were directed by Robbins, the company’s Artistic Director.
Jobsite is also no stranger to political satire, having successfully produced such works as The Complete History of America (abridged), The Mineola Twins, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! and Accidental Death of an Anarchist.
Jobsite Performance Benefits The Poynter Institute
Dr. Roy Peter Clark is Vice President and Senior Scholar at The Poynter Institute. Roy has taught writing at every level–to school children and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors–for more than 30 years, and has spoken about the writer’s craft on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR and Today; at conferences from Singapore to Brazil; and at news organizations from The New York Times to the Sowetan in South Africa. He is the author of “Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer,” the book and the blog.
Meg Laughlin is a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times. While working for the Knight-Ridder, who at the time owned a chain of 32 newspapers, she went to Afghanistan right after the 9-11 attacks to cover the war and its effect on Afghans. Fifteen months later, she went to Iraq to cover the effects of the war on U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi people. In mid July she went to Egypt and Qatar for the St. Petersburg Times. In Egypt, she interviewed the families of people held in the U.S. on terrorism-related charges. In Qatar, she interviewed Sami Al-Haj the only journalist held in Guantanamo Prison, who was released in May. She has received national awards for international, consumer, investigative and education reporting, as well as for feature writing.
Like many television journalists, Brendan McLaughlin worked in several other media markets before finding his broadcast home here in Tampa Bay. Brendan grew up, went to school and started a family in “the other Bay area” and began his career as an intern at the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. His first real job offer came from a station in Austin, Texas. In one of my first assignments, they sent me right back to San Francisco to cover the Loma Prieta earthquake that interrupted the World Series in 1989. His next assignment in Seattle, Washington involved a lot more rain gear, Starbucks coffee, and travel. In a few short years, he filed dispatches from Cuba, Iraq, and Vietnam, picking up a regional Emmy award for reporting. He also spent weekend evenings in the anchor chair. When WFTS television picked up the ABC network affiliation in 1994, he, along with over a hundred other professionals moved to Tampa to start a brand new news operation and he has been proud to anchor the evening newscasts ever since.
Care Packages for Troops Overseas
- Easy Mac, Cup o’ Noodles – any foods that are just add water and microwave
- Books, DVDs or CDs (new or used)
- Small games or playing cards
- Greeting/Thank-You cards – there are not a lot of options over there, so it is nice to stockpile some for people to send and for occasions and birthdays
- Magazines for men or women
- Homemade goods (cookies, etc – will be mailed immediately)
- Edge Shaving Gel
- Beef Jerky
- Prepackaged snacks (anything, just nothing that will melt – keep in mind it’s +120°)
- Gummy Bears
- Coffee Creamer
- Flavored-water packets (like Propel, Crystal Light)
- Sudoku and crossword puzzle books
This is certainly a first
During Embedded we had a few sets of earplugs at the House Manager’s desk in case patrons complained the preshow music was too loud. We
0708 season bragging, 0809 shilling …
I did the math this morning, and I am so very happy to once again report that our 2007-08 season was once again … you
And so, the 0708 season closes …
It’s to be decided whether we go out with a bang or with a bit of a whimper. Theater is a funny business. Ok, so
TotalTheater.com reviews Embedded
I got a call last week from a reviewer in Sarasota who’d been called by the people who run TotalTheater.com out of NYC – they
Final Embedded performances, a few other notes
We have four more performances left of Tim Robbin’s political drama-satire Embedded. Thu. – Sat. at 8pm and Sun. at 4pm. We cannot hold the
Download music for Embedded by The Hornrims
You can get your own mp3s of The Hornrims’ covers of Fortunate Son and For What It’s Worth right here! Enjoy!
Jobsite Theater in Tampa presents the masked political play ‘Embedded’ – St. Petersburg Times
Play Takes Biased, But Balanced, Look At War – Tampa Tribune
Rally the Troops – Creative Loafing
Watch director David M. Jenkins interview with ABC’s Brendan McLaughlin on Flashpoint.
Listen to the Cast/Crew of Embedded on WMNF’s 8/22/08 Art in Your Ear. (Jump to the 12 minute mark.)
Cast & Crew
- David M. Jenkins – Co-director
- Shawn Paonessa – Co-director
- Summer Bohnenkamp – Stage Manager
- Curtis Belz – Perez / Camera Kid, et. al.
- Steve Garland – Stringer / Rum Rum
- Josh Goff – Hardchannel / Gondola
- Amy E. Gray – Kitten Kattan / June
- Meg Heimstead – Gwen / Maryann
- Chris Holcom – Chip Webb / Cove
- Alvin Jenkins – Dad / Buford T. / Pearly White
- Betty-Jane Parks – Jen
- Kyle Porter – Monk
- Roz Potenza – Amy Constant / Mom / Woof
- Christopher Rutherford – Sarge / Dick
- Summer Bohnenkamp – Sound/Light Operator
- David M. Jenkins – Sound Designer/Engineer
- Richard Henzel – Mask Designer
- Shawn Paonessa – Sound Designer and Video Designer/Engineer
- Elizabeth Romaner – Costume Constructor
- Brian M. Smallheer – Scenic and Light Designer
- Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer/Video Operator
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