Critically acclaimed Embedded returns to our stage for a limited screening run in its film version, Embedded Live!
Written and directed by Tim Robbins, the play examines the War in Iraq through its key players: the Bush officials who concocted it, the embedded journalists who covered it, and the soldiers who fought it.
The original Los Angeles production was described as “a ripped-from-the-headlines satire about the madness surrounding the brave women and men on the front lines in a Mideast conflict. [It] skewers cynical embedded journalists, scheming government officials, a show-tune singing colonel, and the media’s insatiable desire for heroes.”
A stage production of EmbeddedLive was first performed at The Actors’ Gang Theater in Los Angeles in July 2003. After the premiere, Robbins was greatly criticized by conservative media for his anti-war criticism and perceived lack of patriotism. The most famous contretemps involved the baseball hall of fame, who uninvited Robbins and cancelled a screening of the baseball comedy Bull Durham. Despite facing savage reviews, the audience demands kept the play running for 4 months to sold out houses at The Public Theater in New York. The play then went on to a successful run at the Riverside Theater in London.
Robbins said, “Its extended life has been made possible by the audiences that have embraced it, the war correspondents who have seen and legitimized it in post-show discussions, and the veterans who have appreciated its emotional core.”
The film version of the play, Embedded Live, was shot before a live audience during its off-Broadway run in New York. Robbins decided to forgo shooting it as an original film. “I wanted to capture the energy in the room [of the play]. Amidst all the compliance in the media, I wanted to show the audience [and how] they determined the play’s success. The film was shot on mini-DV by a nonprofit filmmakers’ collective known as Downtown Community Television and was edited by Lisa Zeno Churgin (Dead Man Walking). Embedded Live premiered at the Venice Film Festival. In advance of its TV premiere on The Sundance Channel, Embedded was screened simultaneously on 100 college campuses across the country. Embedded Live was released on DVD by Netflix in 2005. Embedded Live was the first Netflix acquisition distributed to a broad audience (Barnes & Noble and Amazon) outside its customer base.
The term “embedded” was used during the war in Iraq to refer to journalists who were allowed to accompany American troops as they marched toward Baghdad. Tim Robbins interviewed embedded journalist Evan Wright of Rolling Stone and HBO’s Generation Kill as part of his research, along with Anthony Swofford, the Gulf War I veteran who wrote the popular book Jarhead.
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