Get Your War On: Sean Carman’s note from Washington

Below Sean Carman, an occasional contributor to, reports on the adaptation of Get Your War On.

It was a treat several weekends ago to watch the theatrical adaption of David Rees’ Internet comic Get Your War On just a few blocks from the Capitol, at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater.

The adaptation is the work of the Rude Mechanicals, an Austin-based theater troupe which opened Get Your War On in the Texas capital before bringing it to Washington, D.C.

The Rude Mechs perform the show with four overhead projectors, cheap office furniture, telephones with dangling, disconnected cords, and a filing cabinet from which they pull the hundreds of transparencies they throw on the overheads during the show. It all begins with the classic line, “Oh yeah! Operation Enduring Freedom is in the house!”

War is 70 minutes of vicious hilarity, appropriately delivered without an intermission, almost all of it lifted directly from the profane dialogue in Rees’ comic. The Rude Mechs run through the material with exquisite timing and pitch-perfect rage. “Did you hear the President’s speech last night,” one office worker asks another, and the shocked reply is, “That man is our President!?” To which the first worker replies, “Yes! Remember President Lincoln? That guy has the same job!”

War is a short run-down of the appalling hypocrisy and terrifying incompetence of the Bush Administration. It’s refreshing to see the truth about Bush expressed so comically and so eloquently on the stage, just as it was such a relief to discover Rees’ dissenting voice in the months after September 11, which seemed, among other tragic consequences, to shock the country into a frightening political lockstep.

But it’s even more heartening to experience War as a member of an audience — to see the full house laughing and cheering at every joke, and to know that in our disbelief at the state of the nation, and our outraged curiosity at how it all could have happened, and could be happening still, we are not alone.


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