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Theater Project to present script-in hand performances of 'Guardians'

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Where is the line between torture and enhanced interrogation? Is this a question that should concern civilian citizens of a democracy that employs such techniques with enemy combatants? These issues will be considered when Dr. Robert Pallitto of Seton Hall University and Madelyn Hoffman of New Jersey Peace Action join Theater Project audiences to discuss the play GUARDIANS by Peter Morris. Talk-back sessions will follow each performance. (Video provided for story background)

The two character play GUARDIANS examines the motives of a male journalist and a female soldier involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandals. Although the facility is now under Iraqi control, disturbing questions remain: Is “enhanced interrogation” ever justified? What are the unintended consequences on the system, the society and the individuals who carry it out?

Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Robert Pallitto will share the insights and information of his scholarship: he recently published Torture and State Violence in the United States. His first book, State Secrets and Executive Power (co-authored with William Weaver) was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Madelyn Hoffman will represent NJ Peace Action, a group which has fought for disarmament and protested the use of drones and enhanced interrogation. Hoffman is the executive director of NJ Peace Action, adjunct professor of political science, a regular contributor to OpEd News and Bloomfield Life’s “Bloomfield Public Square.”

Performed in London and New York, GUARDIANS premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won the Fringe First Award and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Peter Morris is a Philadelphia native, but works chiefly in London.

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. The Theater Project believes in using drama as a springboard to community discussion and interaction. The company regularly presents staged readings of plays dealing with current affairs: PROP 8 (Marriage equality) STUFF HAPPENS (the lead-up to the Iraq war) and TIGER LILIES OUT OF SEASON (breast cancer treatment alternatives).

GUARDIANS 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 the guest panel, February 7 at 8 pm, and Feb 8 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.

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