The World Premiere of Red Badge Variations kicks off the 35th season for the Coterie Theatre, located at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. Red Badge Variations was written by Melissa Cooper and is directed by Kyle Hatley. The play is as the title states, a variation of the Stephen Crane novel, The Red Badge of Courage.
“Red Badge Variations is the story of five young men who go to war,” explains playwright Melissa Cooper. “Full of energy, humor, and zest for life, they find themselves changed in profound ways by their deployment. I’m grateful to the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who gave me feedback as I worked on the play. American soldiers continue to fight and come home to a country that sometimes forgets it is at war, so I hope the play serves to foster dialogue between civilians and soldiers.”
The play encompasses a year in the life of the five soldiers in Afghanistan, one a young recruit by the name of Henry Fleming. The play begins with the arrival of Fleming after the unit had suffered a recent death among. The play takes up at different times through the year, helping the audience to understand the soldiers and their unique personalities.
The cast of Red Badge Variations features Jacob Aaron Cullum as Henry Fleming, Matt Leonard as Wilson, Matthew Joseph as JC, Francisco Villegas as Tat and Jake Walker as Doc. Cullum has appeared at the New Theatre Restaurant in The Buddy Holly Story, with Spinning Tree Theatre in Hello Again, the Unicorn Theatre in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Musical Theatre in Sweeny Todd among other credits.
Red Badge Variations runs from September 17 through October 5 on level one of Crown Center. Opening night is Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. The show is part of the Coteries pre-teen and adult series. Tickets for youths under 18, full-time students and seniors are $10 each. Adult ticket prices are $15 each.
Other shows scheduled for the 2013-2014 season include; Dracula: The Journal of Jonathan Harker, The Wiz, Afflicted Daughters of Salem, I Was Teenage Immortal: Geek Mythology and Schoolhouse Rock Live!