In this Performing Arts Q&A session, I speak with Jarrod Kopp, director of Theatre Tulsa’s production of A Few Good Men.
What five words would you use to describe A Few Good Men?
Intense, Funny, Dramatic, Smart, Thrilling
Now, using more than five words, what’s it about?
A Few Good Men involves a Navy JAG team investigating a Marine’s death. The prosecution says it was murder by his squad members, but the defense team suspects a larger conspiracy. This was Aaron Sorkin’s first breakthrough work, which launched his career in screenwriting and TV over the next two decades, and also became an iconic blockbuster movie back in 1992.
What are some unique aspects for your version of A Few Good Men?
First of all, I did want to make this a unique experience even for people who have seen the move. Fortunately, there a several scenes in the play that did not make it into the movie adaptation. There were also scenes written for the movie that in this play are taking place in the background of the story.
Although the investigation and court trial is a big part of the plot, this production also highlights more of the personal stories of these characters and how their own sense of honor drives the action. I also made some casting choices that highlight certain conflicts or alliances that I wanted the characters to have between each other.
What was the biggest challenge with this production?
I would say the biggest challenge was the staging, since Sorkin wrote this more like a movie than a play. He wrote scenes that jump from Washington D.C. to Cuba to a courtroom to an apartment to a jail cell, and then made some of the scenes move forward while several others are in flashback. It could have been a show about watching set changes, but we staged so the story flows from one location to the next without a break in the action.
Why should one see it?
A Few Good Men is a story of personal achievement, a procedural thriller and an intense courtroom drama all in one package. This production features some of the best male actors in Tulsa, and the script is both hilarious and deeply dramatic. In fact, several of the high-octane scenes that people remember from the movie are even more intense in a live theater with no cuts or edits.
What scenes do the actors enjoy?
Jessep and his marines are mesmerizing in this show. His scenes against Kaffee are explosive.
Anything else you want people to know?
This show plays even better live. It is not to be missed. It runs March 21-30 at the Tulsa PAC.