Cory Doctorow's Little Brother becomes a must-see stage play

Illustration for article titled Cory Doctorows emLittle Brother/em becomes a must-see stage play

I was lucky enough to catch a preview performance of the Custom Made Theatre Co.'s new stage adaptation of Cory Doctorow's award-winning novel Little Brother the other day — and it was a total marvel. Somehow, writer/director Josh Costello managed to condense the novel down to a two-hour play, without losing any of the impact. If anything, the staged version hits a bit harder than the book, because of the intense, but not overstated, performances.

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I've heard it's poor form to review a preview night show, because that's not the final version of the play and it's like a rehearsal with a live audience. So I'll just say that the version I saw was powerful and brilliant, and the cast was note-perfect, especially Daniel Petzold as Marcus Yallow. (The other two castmembers, Marissa Keltie and Cory Censoprano, have a harder task in some ways, since they play a variety of roles throughout the show. And they're both great as well.) The stage play uses a lot of pre-recorded video and some very clever sets to create a lot of different settings, as well as giving a primer in topics like the futility of using data-mining to catch terrorists.

Given that President Obama just signed the defense bill that actually does allow indefinite detention of American citizens who are suspected of terrorism, this stage play couldn't be more timely. According to the Custom Made website, tonight's opening night is already sold out, but you can still get tickets for Thursday and most of the weekend. If you're in the Bay Area, this is worth going out of your way for.

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DISCUSSION

Given that President Obama just signed the defense bill that actually does allow indefinite detention of American citizens who are suspected of terrorism

From what I read (I read the actual text of the bill), the bill specifically excludes American citizens from being held without trial.

Now if you're a foreign national, you're outta luck. You can be classified as an enemy combatant and held as a prisoner of war. POW's don't get trials, since they're not being held on criminal charges, but I assume they're returned after the war is concluded.

Here's a statement from Obama on the issue: "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation."

[www.washingtonpost.com]

Having read Doctorow's book, I think he takes things a bit too far, but it's a good story nontheless.