Month: February 2016


The Body of An American tells the story of the unlikely friendship between playwright Dan O’Brien and Pulitzer Prize-winning war photojournalist Paul Watson. We thought you might enjoy learning more about these fascinating men.

  • Listen to the interview that started it all! O’Brien first contacted Watson after hearing this interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air.
  • Read an excerpt from Paul Watson’s memoir Where War Lives: A Journey Into the Heart of War. (You can purchase a copy here.)
  • O’Brien recently shared some poetry from his new collection, New Life, on our blog. (You can purchase a copy here.)
  • O’Brien’s earlier collection of poems about Watson entitled War Reporter—described in the Guardian as “a masterpiece of truthfulness and feeling”—received the UK’s Fenton Aldeburgh Prize and was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.
  • This fascinating interview with Watson and O’Brien gives some wonderful background context to their friendship.
  • Paul Watson recently resigned from his post as journalist for the Toronto Star. Read his side of the story in his own words, in “Why I Resigned From the Toronto Star.”

Performances for The Body of an American run through March 20 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Poetry Excerpts from New Life by Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien, the playwright of The Body of An American, is also a poet. He generously agreed to share a few of his poems about Paul Watson here on our blog.

The War Reporter Paul Watson Bids His Joy Farewell

Over FaceTime with his son complaining
about math, the cat’s diarrhea, those dire
choral concerts, Paul mentions he’ll be gone
a week or so. So what? ripostes his son
with a wit half his age. Knowing full well
no WiFi is murder. To Syria,
Paul persists. The betrayal. The Youngbloods
on his laptop, We are but a moment’s
sunlight fading in the grass. His joy asks,
Why do you have to? Stay home. Twisting off
-screen to strangle his tears in the window’s
vale of skiers. Paul’s hotel glass unveils
a surf at Bourj Hammoud the squalor of
the scotch in his tumbler. The near-future
will often bleed through. Like this nine-year-old
girl in a hospital because shrapnel
from a mortar bomb pierced the tent and speared
an aluminum vessel like a balloon
atop their space heater. The flaming oil
splashed over her cheek, her arm. Her mother
tried to smother the screaming but only
smeared the searing goo farther. In an ear
that seemed to disappear. Now like a stone
moldered over with the moss of silver
sulfadiazine cream, caked on to ward off
sepsis. Fracturing like plaster. The ungloved
nurses peel the gauze. Assad’s bombardment
reminds the city. The half-deaf girl’s sobs
chasten a crowded hallway. This moment
gets photographed tomorrow. I’ll return
soon, Paul promises. But in case I don’t
make it back, all you’ll need to do is go
up the mountainside and ask the forest
whether to ask out that girl. Ask the rain
how to finesse your mother. Ask the storm
if you can borrow His car. They’re laughing
between their screens. Can you promise? His son
gambles, Fuck off. The song on Paul’s laptop
switches to something less meaningful as
they disconnect.


The Body of An American: Press Meet and Greet

This morning, the cast and creative team behind Dan O’Brien’s The Body of an American met members of the press for photographs and interviews. You can see some of the highlights from the event below.


Back row: Alex Basco Koch, Casey Childs, Jo Bonney. Front row: Michelle Bossy, Michael Cumpsty, Michael Crane


Michael Cumpsty


Michael Crane


Jo Bonney


Michael Cumpsty, Jo Bonney, Michael Crane

In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting videos from the event. Follow us on YouTube and Facebook to get the newest behind-the-scenes video content!

Performances for The Body of an American begin February 10 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Visit our website for more information and to purchase tickets.