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An Interrogation Primer is a one-actor play adapted verbatim from the writings of a former U.S. military interrogator. Read more

New York, NY Theater
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This project was successfully funded on August 19, 2012.

An Interrogation Primer is a one-actor play adapted verbatim from the writings of a former U.S. military interrogator.

New York, NY Theater
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Sean Bolger
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Sean Bolger

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About this project

A 35 minute, one-man show performed by Sean Bolger, An Interrogation Primer is a rare first-hand account written by former military interrogator Mike Nowacki. Nowacki served in the US military until 2006, spending the last year as an interrogator in Bahgdad. The result is a piece of theater reminiscent of the raw, early writings from Vietnam.

Following a successful Chicago production at The Side Project last winter—the Chicago Tribune called it "riveting"; Time Out Chicago said it was "haunting"—we are bringing An Interrogation Primer to the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. The performer (Sean Bolger) and director (Eric Ziegenhagen) will be traveling to New York in August. We are looking for your support to bring this important piece of Chicago theater to life in New York.

Funds raised through Kickstarter will cover expenses related to presenting the play as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, including the festival entry fee ($650), insurance, marketing expenses, and simple props, as well as bringing Sean and Eric to New York for the festival.

If we surpass our goal of $2,500, we would put any additional funds raised toward future productions of An Interrogation Primer: a potential remount in Chicago, a storefront-theater staging in Los Angeles, and one-off performances elsewhere. We will keep all funders abreast of these productions and pledge to put all funds toward a continued life for this show.

Reviewing its original run in November 2011 at The Side Project, Kerry Reid of the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Michael Nowacki's monologue only lasts 35 minutes, but though it is compact, it is far from tidy. The author, a former Army interrogator in Iraq, created the piece through the Warrior Writers program and as performed by the tightly coiled Sean Bolger under Eric Ziegenhagen's pinpoint direction, it's riveting…Bolger nails nearly every shift — from cynicism to rage to confusion to despair — woven into this insider's view of a man who did the dirty work required by his superiors while the rest of America went shopping in the war years.”

Director Eric Ziegenhagen: “The entire piece is written in the second person, which means that it gets around being either a first-person confession or a third-person piece of journalism. The piece has its own unique way of getting to the truth of the situation, without the sensationalism or voyeurism of a re-enactment.

PERFORMANCE DETAILS:
All New York performances will be at The Steve & Mary Sgouros Theatre – Players Theatre Loft. 115 MacDougal Street.

Tickets and information available at fringenyc.org.

Performance dates/times:
Saturday, Aug. 11 – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 17 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 18 – 2:45 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 23 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 – 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26 – 2 p.m.

MORE ON “AN INTEROGATION PRIMER”

“An Interrogation Primer,” is a 35 minute one-man performed by Sean Bolger. Written by a former military interrogator (and current Chicago police officer) Mike Nowacki and directed by Eric Ziegenhagen, the play was developed through the Warrior Writers program, which brings together recent veterans and current service members to utilize the art-making processes within creative communities to express themselves.

Ziegenhagen’s has directed world premieres by Wendy MacLeod, Yusef El-Giundi, Laura Eason, Brett Neveu, and others at storefront theaters throughout Chicago. He has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, American Theater Company, Collaboraction, The Side Project, and other storefront theaters, as well as the Lincoln Center Directors' Lab.

Sean Bolger, a Chicago native, has been working on Chicago theatre scene for nearly a decade. Trained at The School at Steppenwolf and Chicago's famed Second City, he has worked at theatres all over town including the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, A Red Orchid, Lookingglass, Steep and elsewhere. He can be seen this August on HBO GO's new webseries "Single Long".

Director Eric Ziegenhagen: "I first read An Interrogation Primer in an anthology published by Warrior Writers, an organization that holds writing workshops with veterans. One paragraph in, I knew that it matched my sensibilities and would work onstage as a piece of dramatic theater. The entire piece is written in the second person, which means that it gets around being either a first-person confession or a third-person piece of journalism. It is both and neither. The piece has its own unique way of getting to the truth of the situation, without the sensationalism or voyeurism of a re-enactment. Just as the literature of Vietnam, written by those who experienced it first-hand, emerged in the years after the war's end, I believe that the time is right to stage An Interrogation Primer and that it will take its place as an essential, enduring piece of writing from the Iraq War.”

Ziegenhagen adds: “Any plays I've seen that approach the subject of interrogation do so in a sadistic, sensational (albeit effective) way: The Pillowman; Pinter's One for the Road and The Birthday Party; various police procedurals. An Interrogation Primer has a familiar table and chair, but with only one actor onstage, and the audience on the other side of the table."

REVIEWS FOR “AN INTERROGATION PRIMER”

Chicago Tribune:
"Michael Nowacki's monologue only lasts 35 minutes, but though it is compact, it is far from tidy. The author, a former Army interrogator in Iraq, created the piece through the Warrior Writers program and as performed by the tightly coiled Sean Bolger under Eric Ziegenhagen's pinpoint direction, it's riveting. And discomfiting."

For entire review: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-16/entertainment/ct-ott-1118-on-the-fringe-20111116_1_sean-bolger-army-interrogator-theater-reviews

Chicago Theater Beat:
"In war, no one walks away clean. Even the best intentions are pulverized in the wake of homesickness, squalor and sheer boredom. Sadistic impulses run rampant and are often rewarded. And a job in which the fates of human beings hang in the balance becomes mind-numbingly repetitive. Just another day at the office."

For entire review: http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2011/11/14/review-an-interrogation-primer-side-project-theatre/

Centerstage Chicago:
"A communique from the front lines of the war on terror like this should not be ignored by any US citizen with voting rights."

For entire review: http://www.centerstagechicago.com/theatre/shows/11941.html#review

The full text of An Interrogation Primer via Warrior Writers-note that the reading in the video on this page is not us or our production:
http://www.warriorwriters.org/Artists/NowackiCW.html

We deeply appreciate your support.

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    Receive a personalized thank-you note from the production team (handwritten if you provide your mailing address—an email otherwise) on one of our FringeNYC postcards.

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    Receive the personalized thank-you note, plus a commemorative button and a program from the FringeNYC run of An Interrogation Primer. The program will come complete with playbill recognition of your support.

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    Receive all of the above as well as a personalized, autographed poster from the run.

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    All of the above, plus a limited edition copy of An Interrogation Primer signed by the author.

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    1 backer

    For those in Chicago, all of the above plus a private performance of An Interrogation Primer at your venue (home, gallery space, theatre, etc.) for you and your guests. Specific performance dates depend on actor availability.

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    For those in New York or Los Angeles, all of the above plus a private performance of An Interrogation Primer at your venue (home, gallery space, theatre, etc.) for you and your guests. Specific performance dates depend on actor availability

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Funding period

- (15 days)