“Mister Roberts” Aug 9 – Aug 24, 2002

mroberts2_bigThe rowdy, realistic saga of American sailors aboard a cargo vessel in the Pacific, ca. WWII. The crew is suffering from both boredom with their situation as a “stand-by” to all the real action of the war, and frustration with the tyrannical dictates of their captain. That Mr. Roberts, a lieutenant, shares their frustrations is one reason for his popularity among the crew. Another is his ability to parry with the captain in a battle of wills and integrity, and somehow come out on top, until … A showdown between the men receiving a much-needed and anticipated shore leave, and Mr. Roberts ever getting a much desired transfer to a combat duty vessel. Mr. Roberts selflessly forgoes his transfer to ensure the men their shore leave, the first in a year, but the consequence to him of having to knuckle under to the captain makes him appear both a coward and a turncoat to the crew. Only when other members of the ship’s company come forward and expose Mr. Roberts’ quiet heroism is the truth known, and the transfer obtained with full involvement of the crew in the project. Themes of self-respect, self-sacrifice, and ingenuity and endurance in the face of adversity will bring to mind Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, “If”, as the crew and the audience learn the meaning of the triumph of the human spirit, and its cost.