The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman is a verbatim play currently on stage as part of SummerWorks. It is the story of a US soldier’s attempt to claim refugee status in Canada as an objector to the war in Iraq.
A verbatim play uses “real life” words and transcripts. It is an excellent device for recounting historical events. Creators Josh Bloch and Oonagh Duncan do a remarkable job of condensing 7 years of transcripts, interviews and media coverage into 60 compelling minutes. It is fantastic courtroom drama.
There is a cast of six actors portraying several real people. Joris Jarsky plays both Hinzman and another US soldier who objected to the war, Jimmy Massey. Officially, there are about two dozen Iraq War resisters who have fled to Canada. There is estimated to be about 200 total resisters.
The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman is has simple but effective use of technology. A video screen introduces characters and offers information. To stage left is a “side stage” where media coverage, including Fox News and BBC, is re-enacted. This is then projected onto the screen, and the words spoken are often as ridiculous of the nonsense Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart illuminate.
Speaking of media sideshows, Dov Mickelson does a great job as Brian Goodman, head of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The character Goodman often reminded me of Rex Murphy. Goodman anchors the set as he conducts the investigation into the status of Hinzman.
Overall, the play is mature and thought-provoking. The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman will have you reconsidering your beliefs. Bill O’Reilly’s crazy comments are brought to light, but so is the sanctimony of the left’s sacred cows.
The play is anything but anti-American. It questions Canada’s habit of politely claiming moral superiority. It raises questions about Canada’s refugee laws and explores the huge “grey area” between right and wrong. It helps us understand the role and mentality of soldiers. The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman even dabbles in exploring non-verbal communication difficulties between cultures.
- The Hearing of Jeremy Hinzman plays at Venue E: The Theatre Centre (1087 Queen Street West)
- Show times: Thurs. August 9, 4:30 PM; Fri. August 17, 2:00 PM; Sun. August 12, 7:00 PM; Sat. August 18, 7:00 PM; Thurs. August 16, 4:30 PM; Sun. August 19, 4:30 PM
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://ticketwise.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12PM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
-Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images