THE SAND STORM: STORIES FROM THE FRONT

Guess what? War is still hell. This shouldn't be surprising, considering that almost everything we've ever read or seen about any war pointed that out, yet this abundance of depictions of human misery never seems to keep us out of new wars, unfortunately. Sean Huze's powerful play may not be so ambitious as to try to keep us from blithely starting another war, but it does something very useful: It attempts to tell us the truth. The piece is produced in conjunction with Operation Truth, an organization founded by veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom that encourages soldiers to tell their stories to the world. Huze based his 10 monologues on his experiences and those of other Marines he served with, and a feeling of simple authenticity grounds the play and makes it real.

Director David Fofi adds to the sense of documentary by having his cast members underplay their monologues. It's more like these men are simply telling us about something that happened rather than performing it. The entire ensemble is superb, each actor able to bring his monologue to life in a short time. Robert Brewer is very moving as a Marine doctor who is overwhelmed by unexpected gratitude, and Jeremy Glazer offers a compelling blend of dark comedy and horror as a private who discovers a human foot lying in the street. Gentry Sanz-Agero is funny and sympathetic as a Marine who finds his safety mask too claustrophobic, and Tom Vick is coldly convincing as a Marine refusing to show a dying Iraqi any mercy. Torrance Jordan brings a ferocious energy to his role as a staff sergeant who loses his temper in a drastic way, and Huze ends the show on a quietly hopeful note as a Marine stationed to protect a grateful group of Iraqis. This show, in addition to being well-done and undeniably affecting, honors the experiences—good and bad—of our soldiers in Iraq, and, in a time when everything concerning the war has long since been politicized into babble, it deserves to be seen and heard.

"The Sand Storm: Stories From the Front," presented by Mark Seabrooks and Sean Huze in association with Operation Truth at the Elephant Asylum Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m. Mar. 18-Apr. 23. $20. (323) 960-4410.