A soldier in the Bosnian Serb army deserts, escaping to Sarajevo with his sister. He and his unit have been participants in massacares of Muslim men and boys and in systematic rapes of Muslim women. He approaches a newspaper office with an offer: he’s willing to exchange his eyewitness testimony for safe passage out of Bosnia for him and his sister.
The newspaper has the connections to accomplish this, and its editors agree to the deal. Before the soldier can be taped, however, Serbian infantry breaches the U.N. imposed “safe zone” lines and surrounds the newspaper office. The editors are presented with an ultimatum to either give up the soldier or be stormed by the troops. They have 24 hours to make their decision.
Full length two-act drama. Six women, six men.
Published February 2008 by Original Works Publishing in Los Angeles.
- April 2003, Rude Guerrilla Theatre, Santa Ana, California; full production, four-week run.
- March-April 1999, Stark Raving Theatre, Portland, Oregon; full production, five-week run.
- Portland Oregonian, 1999: ‘Patterson excels in calling up the atmosphere of anxious times in distant places….’
- KATU TV Citysearch, 1999: ‘Escalating tension is leavened by refreshing bits of gallows humor, and Patterson’s powerful tale of humanity and survival soars…. Through the very human story of “Liberation,” Steve Patterson displays heart, intelligence, and a gift for storytelling; he easily engages the audience with his microcosm comprised of worldly intellectuals and everyday working people.’
- Willamette Week, 1999: ‘With American bombs falling on Belgrade this past week, Steve Patterson’s latest play is required viewing. Patterson has set the action in Sarajevo, site of the last round of European slaughter. Liberation is the story of a band of journalists holed up in what’s left of their newspaper offices, determined to keep the press running. Befitting their city, they’re a cosmopolitan crew of Croats, Muslims and
- Serbs who strive to co exist. But when a defecting Serb soldier and his sister take refuge at the paper, relationships and allegiances become strained. It’s a good, substantial theme, and Patterson has done an excellent job in realizing this world. His writing is fluid for the most part, and he brilliantly captures the war’s ironies and the gallows humor of the characters.’
- WALLFOUR.COM, 2003: ‘Though paling by comparison to the atrocities related on stage, it would certainly be criminal to reduce this show by merely calling it a drama. A drama would suggest dramatics. But somewhere during this show, you will feel so caught up in it that you will forget that you are an audience member, watching anything at all that resembles performance. Director Jody J. Reeves has successfully taken this moving script with a powerful subject, and carefully combined it with an atmosphere and performances that make it impossible to avoid being enveloped by its plot and characters.’
- More reviews, courtesy of the late, great, Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company…..
- Srebrenica’s Demographic Aftermath (elizpondblog.com)
- Bosnian war crimes court frees 10 convicts, orders retrials (trust.org)
- 18 years since the end of the war in Bosnia (facebookreporter.org)