Thanks so much for visiting Stage Voices for the latest in Theatre news and writing.  In the past more than two years, I’ve had the privilege to conceptualize, agent, and edit (with Karen Malpede and Michael Messina) an important drama anthology published by Mike Levine at Northwestern University Press called Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays—the foreword is by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges.  It’s a needed volume of artistic reactions to our wars in the Mideast by some of America’s and Great Britain’s finest dramatists:

Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo, Bill Cain, David Hare, Karen Malpede, Simon Stephens, Lydia Stryk, and Naomi Wallace

Their works validate and inform, challenge and elucidate our most deeply held beliefs about the current conflicts—they also help restore the notion that theatre is vital to cultural and political debate. 

See if your own points of view aren’t changed by them. 

All best–and thanks so much for reading,

Bob Shuman, Owner, Stage Voices  

“We in America are confounded by contradictions and are here challenged to look, to see, to know ourselves–our lies and hypocrisy, our courage and goodness.”–Olympia Dukakis

“[Acts of War is a] powerful new collection of American and British plays. . . . Karen Malpede, Michael Messina and Bob Shuman, in editing this anthology, have made a vigorous contribution to the political and ethical debate. . . . Gathered into one forceful volume, [these dramas] make an important intervention in the discourse of war. . . . One hopes they will be performed in high schools, colleges and universities, and perhaps even for or by combat veterans and their families.”–Jean Randich, Truthdig (

Order at Amazon now:



Edited by Karen Malpede, Michael Messina, and Bob Shuman

Foreword by Chris Hedges 

As Karen Malpede points out in her introduction to Acts of War, drama "arose as a complement to, perhaps also as an antidote to, war."  Like the great ancient Greeks Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the playwrights in this volume see the theater as an art form uniquely capable of addressing the effects of warfare. 

From the violence on the battlefield and in the cells of Guantanamo to the toll exacted on veterans, victims, and civil society, these seven plays in this new collection explore the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Writing with poetic passion, humor, and erotic charge, American and British playwrights bear witness to the realities of these wars for combatants and civilians alike and ask what it means to be a citizen in a democracy at war.  With an introduction that sets the plays in the broader context of the theater's roots and recent history and a galvanizing foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges,  Acts of War is a remarkable testament to the social conscience and moral importance of contemporary theater.

Plays in this volume:

GUANTANAMO: “HONOR BOUND TO DEFEND FREEDOM” by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo

9 CIRCLES by Bill Cain


PROPHECY by Karen Malpede

A CANOPY OF STARS by Simon Stephens

AMERICAN TET by Lydia Stryk

NO SUCH COLD THING by Naomi Wallace

Karen Malpede is a playwright, director, a cofounder of Theater Three Collaborative. She has taught Greek and contemporary drama and writing at Smith College, New York University, and the CUNY Graduate Center's Continuing Education Program.

Michael Messina was the publisher at Applause Theatre & Cinema Books and Limelight Editions (Hal Leonard Corporation). He has also worked for Da Capo Press, Cooper Square Press, and the American Booksellers Association.

Bob Shuman is the owner of the Marit Literary Agency and the theater Web site Stage Voices ( He is also a publisher, a playwright, a college professor, an author, and a recipient of Hunter College’s Irv Zarkower Award for excellence in playwriting.  The co-editor of several monologue and scene compilations, he is a fellow of the Lark Theatre Company.

Cover art & design by Luba Lukova


Amazon Price: $19.77


ISBN 978-0-8101-2732-6

(Copy from Northwestern University Press)

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