Shots ring out. A man falls dead at the hands of an unknown killer. Enter an investigator to sort through a hefty pile of suspects and bring the culprit to justice.
Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play,” which originally appeared Off-Broadway in 1981, takes the form of a classic whodunit. But its enduring appeal has less to do with its solid store of suspense and the savory appeal of mystery stories than it does with the setting. The murder in question takes place on an Army fort that is home to a company of African-American servicemen preparing to ship out for combat in World War II.
The play, now presented for the first time on Broadway in a solid production directed by Kenny Leon, delves with a forensic inquisitiveness not just into the mystery itself, but also into the still-resonant matter of racism in the U.S. forces, the dangerous tensions that arise from it and its ability to poison and corrupt the minds of black servicemen.