photo: Carol Rosegg
Although the presentation is sometimes heavy-handed, and the play doesn't offer (or aim for) the neatness of a tidy narrative, there is plenty to admire about Trista Baldwin's serious and often spellbinding new play in which three U.S. soldiers find themselves at a gas pump in the Iraqi desert. The drama begins simply enough in straightforward fashion - the three seem to form a microcosmic sample of current-day American soldiers, encountering varying degrees of moral struggle with their mission - but the play soon begins toying with continuity and destroying our sense of security with what we are seeing. By the time one of three (the always excellent Pedro Pascal) enters as a fourth character - a boombox-toting Iraqi - the play has so effectively meshed reality and the hallucinatory that we are on high alert to tease the two apart. Yet, part of what is distinctive and interesting here is that figuring out what's real and what's not is not really the point of this war play. The confusion and the disorientation is. Sand isn't agressively abrasive but neither is it comfort theatre offering easy answers. Recommended.