Johnny Got His Gun

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Dalton Trumbo’s antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun took the reader on a harrowing, heartbreaking trip into the head of Joe Bonham, a World War I soldier who’s lost not only his limbs but his sight, hearing and speech—a lump of “living flesh.” A radio adaptation in 1940 listened in on his thoughts and memories, with voices from his past mixing with his own words, as he struggles to reconnect with the world.

That version is being staged this weekend by Old Deerfield Productions. Producer Linda McInerney says it has “as deep an impact today as it did in 1940,” but insists that, despite its theme, “this is not an us-versus-them event, not about hawks versus doves.” The short play is followed by an open conversation “about how we can help our veterans when they come home, what we can learn from their experiences, and how we can come together as a people.” Panelists include former ABC newsman Bob Woodruff, who was wounded in Iraq; his wife, CBS News correspondent Lee Woodruff; Buz Eisenberg, an attorney representing Guantanamo detainees; and Vietnam vet Hank Detering.


May 11, 7:30 p.m., $10-$20, Wesley Church, 98 N. Maple St., Hadley,

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