Please Don’t Call It Theater
When You’re Talking About War
© 2006 by Sharon Abreu

Please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking about war.
There’s no dramatic lighting,
Just bombs and death and gore.
No program or synopsis
That tells you what it’s for –
So please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking about war.
Please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking about war.

There’s no grand proscenium
With velvet curtains there.
But flag-draped coffins by the score
You won’t see on the air.
No popcorn, no milk duds,
No wine, but lots of blood,
Spilled on dirt in far-off lands,
Weak plots mired in mud.
Blood spilled in far-off lands,
Weak plots all mired in mud.

But OH—the rush of battle!
It keeps-- us wanting more.
Holds high—emotions captive,
And we don’t see we dropped our dreams
Down on its sticky floor.

Its directors never acted,
They can’t begin to feel
The pain in this production
Though the spotlight they steal.
How can you call it ‘theater’
When it’s all too very re—ee—eal?
How can you call it ‘theater’
When it’s all too very real?
How can you call it ‘theater’
When it’s all so very real?

No one calls it ‘theater’ when someone dies of AIDS.
Our failing systems earn no dramatic accolades.
Lieutenant Perez won no Tony, though she died at 23 --
In a war they call the ‘theater’, no end in sight to see,
Shouting “Freedom isn’t free” from the wings of our country.

So, please don’t call it ‘theater’,
And please don’t take a bow,
If you won’t take the bullet
Killing those you cast right now.
Don’t expect applause
From hearts that don’t beat anymore,
In the show that doesn’t shut down
Though reviews are very poor--.

If a show won’t fly at home
You shouldn’t take it out on tour!—
So, please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking about war.
Please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking about war.
Please don’t call it ‘theater’
When you’re talking-- about war.