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'A Nation Deceived': Work in Progress

Acclaimed actor and progressive activist Ed Asner played the lead in the first reading of a new play that dramatizes the perfidy of the Bush administration’s push for continued war in Iraq. Check out this behind-the-scenes description by writer Jayne Stahl.


Jayne Stahl:

On the eve of Election Day, and one best characterized by the phrase “pinch me,” I was invited to attend the staged reading of Craig Barnes’ play “A Nation Deceived” at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice [Calif.], where I got to chat for a few minutes with actor and activist Ed Asner, as well as playwright Craig Barnes.

When I asked Ed, a seven-time Emmy-winning actor, who has an inspired history of advocacy for progressive social change, why he decided to play Old Man in this performance, he said the play “is a beautiful indictment — a great amassing of a lot of information in the so-called liberal press.” Long renowned as a vocal and muscular opponent of U.S. policy in Central America and Iraq, a great civil libertarian, a crusader to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as one who supports and contributes to Fresh Start, a program to feed the homeless in Walnut Creek, Ed is no stranger to the struggle for truth and justice.

Asked if he thinks we can expect major change if [Nancy] Pelosi takes over as speaker of the House, and if he thinks the theater is empowered to act as a catalyst for much-needed congressional investigations into wrongdoing in Iraq, Ed responded: “I don’t think it’s a play that’s going to make Nancy Pelosi come around. The play may motivate people to make bodies of others that will then motivate certain committee chairmen of Congress. Only through committee chair can we discover malfeasance, and hopefully those committee chairs will energize Pelosi to conduct further investigations and possibly impeachment.”

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