INDIANAPOLIS — You probably can’t imagine putting the story of the USS Indianapolis into a stage performance, but two playwrights found a way to do it, and they’re bringing their production to Indianapolis this weekend.
“In the Soundless Awe”, written by Jayme McGhan and Andrew Pederson, will be at The IndyFringe Basile Theatre in downtown Indianapolis July 19 – 22.
McGhan says the play depicts the last moments in the life of Capt. Charles McVay III, the commanding officer of the U.S.S Indianapolis when it was hit by two Japanese torpedoes on July 30, 1945.
“Specifically [it depicts] his suicide [in 1968] and the night terrors,” McGhan explains. “We thought ‘what an interesting construct for the theater’ to show the last night terror of the Captain before he committed suicide.”
McVay was one of only 321 men to survive the sinking. He was subsequently court-martialed by the U.S. Navy.
“I got the idea for the play from Capt. Quint’s monologue in ‘Jaws’,” McGahn told WIBC’s Terri Stacy. “It still strikes me as one of the best pieces of film acting I have ever seen.”
“We were both professors in our second year at Concordia University-Chicago,” added Pederson. “It was our fall faculty mixer and Jamie says ‘Hey we should write a play about sharks and we should put in the campus swimming pool’.”
The swimming pool aspect fell through as McGahn and Pederson put the play together, but the performance includes a small pool of water on the stage to simulate the Pacific Ocean.
The play will be in town to coincide with the annual reunion of survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Six of the 14 remaining survivors are expected to attend the reunion.
Tickets for “In the Soundless Awe” are available at indyfringe.org.
(PHOTO: PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
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