My Entrée into Theater Review: The Eyes of Babylon

Friend and former fellow member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (I resigned; he didn’t) Jeff Key has taken his one-man play, The Eyes of Babylon, to off-Broadway.  If you can’t get tickets to one of the remaining shows between now and July 3rd, I recommend seeking a spot at the play’s next run, wherever that is.

Going into the play, I assumed that it would be good.  I have to say, though, that it exceeded my expectations. True to Marine Corps legend, Jeff does more with less.  He opens us to his thoughts and feelings and lets them do the rest.

There were multiple times when I had revelations based on the themes brought forth in the play.  There’s a moment when Jeff says, “You know what God’s chosen people are called in English?  Human.”  I realized how offensive the term “chosen people” must be to Palestinians and their sympathizers.  I always thought the term was objectively ridiculous and it offended me a little bit, since I don’t think Jews have any moral value that I lack, but it hadn’t occurred to me what it must be like to hear the term when you’re at the receiving end of those who believe they have the divine right to a piece of land even if it means pushing other people, who have nowhere else to go, off of it (which is not to say that this describes all Jews).

Another bit that struck a chord was when Jeff related his thoughts in the moment before coming out to another Marine in which he asked himself, “Am I gonna have to switch pronouns for the next three hours?”  A former Marine officer studying at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs cited the same to me as one of the worst parts of serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  It makes me wonder how many others have felt ashamed by their need to perform the same ritual.

I could say more. Topicality aside, it’s just a well-written piece of work.  And he performs so well with minimal props.  The few props he does use are therefore more notable for their inclusion.

Rather than post an excerpt from the play, I thought I’d post this “It Gets Better” clip Jeff shot while preparing to go live with the play.  I notice that Jeff speaks to being perceived as different more than he speaks to being perceived specifically as gay. I assume that was a deliberate choice on his part.


  1. Moar theatre review!

  2. jaylemeux says:

    Maybe I’ll spring for Zarkana tix then…


  1. […] a cue from my friend, Jason, this is my first theater review. It’s not a pure theater review, but my experience there […]

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