Michael T. McPhearson and Madelyn Hoffman are among those who will represent area peace groups at Friday night's discussion after The Theater Project's staged reading of BURY THE DEAD, Irwin Shaw's 1936 anti-war play. Anna Berlinrut will be a discussant at the Saturday and Sunday performances.
The drama focuses on six soldiers killed in battle who rise up and refuse to be buried and forgotten, in spite of the pleadings of generals, their families, and society.
In August 2000, Madelyn Hoffman began her tenure as Executive Director of New Jersey Peace Action (NJPA), one of the nation's oldest grassroots organizations dedicated to nuclear disarmament. She is an adjunct professor of political science, a regular contributor to OpEd News and Bloomfield Life's "Bloomfield Public Square."
Michael T. McPhearson is the National Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice and a current board member as well as a former Executive Director of Veterans for Peace. His military career includes 6 years of reserve and 5 years active duty service. He has been an active member of the Greater Saint Louis Association of Black Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. Michael's son joined the Army in January 2004 and served one tour in Iraq in 2005-2006.
Anna Berlinrut is a co-founder of the Essex County Chapter of Military Families Speak Out. Her son is a Marine currently serving in Afghanistan on his 6th deployment in harm's way. She believes in the necessity of a strong military for defensive purposes. Ms. Berlinrut was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against President George W. Bush to have the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq declared unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress lacks the authority to delegate its responsibility to declare war to the President.
The Theater Project, an award-winning New Jersey theater company at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary. Last November, the company tackled marriage equality, presenting a one-night-only reading of "8" by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the play chronicling the historic California challenge to same-sex marriage.
BURY THE DEAD brings together twenty Theater Project actors, and will be directed by Artistic Director Mark Spina, who was awarded a 2012 best director award by the Star-Ledger. Each script-in-hand performance will be followed by a discussion with the audience and special guests, February 1 and 2 at 8 pm, and Feb 3 at 2 PM at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ. Tickets ($20) may be reserved by calling 973.763.4029 or purchased through The Theater Project website, www.thetheaterproject.org.