Friday, March 29, 2013

"The Predator" in Chicago - Good Friday, 2013 - "A Passion Play for the Drones Era"

"America is addicted to war."
Marie Shebeck as antiwar activist Kelly Mcguire.

"I had hoped you’d go to one of the military academies."
Jay Becker as Major Jennifer Golden, drone pilot, and
Sarah Latham as her daughter, Ella.

"And I thought I had a discharge from the Air Force culture."

"Ella, it’s not like I’m in your face."

"As we move away from boots on the ground
and pilots in the air, drones will overtake
all forms of military spending.
We’re into a new era of defense."
Rosalie Reigle as Senator Barbara Lewis

"We want to break the silence of Catholic Bishops,
but we feel that our more important goal is to get
the word out to the people -— especially young people."
Playwright Jack Gilroy discusses The Predator.

Chicago Presentation of "Passion Play for the Drones Era"
Kicks Off National Campaign of Actions

Performance Ties Drones Killing to
Good Friday Observance

In Chicago on Good Friday, 2013 (March 29), a cast consisting of long-time Chicago antiwar activists was joined by a NY playwright (and defendant in actions against US drone bases), Jack Gilroy, on Friday for one of the events kicking off a month-long campaign of anti-drones events across the country.

The Chicago event, a play entitled The Predator, about a drone pilot, her teenage daughter, a peace activist, and a U.S. Senator, was offered in conjunction with the 33rd Annual 8th Day Center for Justice Good Friday Walk for Justice. The play was staged at Grace Place (637 S Dearborn,Chicago), and was co-produced by the American Friends Service Committee, the White Rose Catholic Worker, and the No Drones Network, all based in Chicago.

"In fact, the idea of presenting The Predator in Chicago on Good Friday was inspired by last year's Walk for Justice," said Joe Scarry, coordinator of the No Drones Network. "Last year at Station 9 -- Execution -- representatives of Voices for Creative Nonviolence explained that the cross was Empire's weapon of choice for executing people, and that if Jesus were among us today he would probably be executed by a drone strike."

The Chicago production of The Predator was co-sponsored by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, as well as by the Antiwar Committee and Chicago Area Peace Action.

As reported on March 27, 2013, in The Guardian ( ), Barack Obama's drones programme will be the target of a month-long series of protests dubbed "April Days of Action" by participants. "We're excited to have multiple events in Chicago -- including this dramatic production as well as a major protest on April 6 of Chicago-based Boeing Corporation's killer drone program -- to help kick off this national campaign," said Joe Iosbaker, of the Antiwar Committee.

Events are planned for Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Dayton, Ft. Wayne, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Seattle, Tucson, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Honolulu, as well as in dozens of other locations, including many of the communities that host the estimated 100 drone basing sites in the U.S.

The Predator is available for free download on the Pax Christi website.
Groups are encouraged to mount their own productions!

You can listen to the Chicago performance of
The Predator on WBEZ Chicago's Chicago Amplified.

For more information on The Predator, see
"How Communities Are Using the Play The Predator to Question Drone Warfare ".

Chicago Production of

by Jack Gilroy


JAY BECKER as Major Jennifer Golden, her mother
ROSALIE RIEGLE as Senator Barbara Lewis
MARIE SHEBECK as Kelly Maguire, a peace and justice activist

and introducing SARAH LATHAM as Ella Golden, a college student

Produced by Marie Shebeck, Molly McQueen, and Joe Scarry

Related posts

The Predator challenges us with the question: What do we think about "Just War" Theory? In the introduction to the play, Gilroy says, "This play hopes to quicken the moral juices of Jesuit students who have been taught it’s okay to go to war and kill as long as you have good reasons provided by your country’s leadership." As the antiwar activist says near the end of the play, "No war is just."

(See How Communities Are Using the Play "The Predator" to Question Drone Warfare )

Reviewer Stephen Holden has written in The New York Times that Good Kill "makes a persuasive case that our blind infatuation with all-powerful technology is stripping us of our humanity . . . "

(See "Good Kill" Will Have EVERYONE Talking About the "Invisible" Drone Wars )

Grounded raises tough questions. I was hoping that the play would challenge the idea that killing people with drones is good. It's a reflection of the seriousness of this work that that is just one of the issues it raises; others include our society's willingness to destroy the people who we employ to "serve" ("serve our country," serve us in general), our culture's worship of violence / use of force, and the consequences of pervasive surveillance.

Leveling Up is the creative work that demonstrates just how thoroughly America's new ways of warfare have become intertwined with the other dominant strands in our culture.

"By turns comic and appalling, Unmanned dramatizes the lives of two drone operators in a remote desert in the American Southwest—one, a retired male fighter pilot who is terrified to fly; the other, a young female gamer who has never flown. This sets the stage for an exploration of the bizarre and disturbing profession of the military drone “pilot” and the ways in which technology has radically altered contemporary life and warfare."

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