Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1982, powerfully addresses group self-hatred, institutionalized racism, and the corrosive effects of hate and prejudice. The revived production, at the American Airlines Theatre, features a wonderful ensemble group of actors adroitly directed by Kenny Leon.
The play is a whodunit set on a segregated Army base in Louisiana in the 1940s. David Alan Grier adeptly handles the role of Sergeant Vernon Walters, a martinet—though Afro-American, he verbally and physically abuses the Southern black men under his command—who is shot in the head and killed. Blair Underwood plays Captain Richard Davenport, the investigator the Army command sends to investigate the murder. The production intersperses music and movement, particularly in a scene where soldiers in the barracks imitate a prison chain gang.
If you are not intimidated by the topic, this show can provoke thoughtful conversations.