While we may have heard of the violence in Yemen, few of us understand the complexity of the issues at stake, much less the individuals involved—even when those individuals are Americans working as our eyes and ears on the ground. So much of the work these brave women and men do is based on their developing a sense of trust with the local people, building relationships that often put their lives at risk.
As of this writing, a lot is being said that questions the integrity and motives of our intelligence operatives. Yet our sense of who these people are, what they actually do, and why they do it, is as mysterious and vague to us as the countless anonymous victims trapped between their country’s sectarian violence and our country’s drone strikes. Perhaps the less we know the easier it is to be desensitized. But living up to the fullest potential of our humanity has never been easy, and that’s why theatre has been a part of democratic society from its inception: to challenge us to be our best selves. No pain, no gain. What Miranda does, like all great art, is ease that pain with beauty and compassion. It exposes the human cost of conflict on both sides, to remind us that goodness and trust are not exclusive to any nation, to any culture, but are in fact universally human.