In a one man ninety minute performance, Jeff Key takes you back to Iraq to relive his experience there firsthand.  There are some brilliant minimalist projections and 'real' sound effects.  But is is Jeff, baring his soul, that grips you in a monologue that puts you on the ground in Iraq in a Marine uniform.  You drive a grinding gnashing war vehicle while peering through a periscope.  You live his thoughts, wondering why you are there in 120+ degree heat.  You experience the reality of war without the simple luxury of being able to shower, being dirty, and sweaty and bone tired night and day far from home in a hostile yet beautiful landscape.  All this, on an essentially bare stage where his words fill your mind with starkly clear visions of warfare.

It is intensely intellectual, but told in the raw language of a Marine in his boots on the ground in hell; who has the word "Warrior" tattooed on one forearm and "Poet" on the other.  If that isn't enough, yes you get to see him dress and undress and dress again, all the while talking --telling you what is was like to be a gay Marine at war.

This is the story of a Marine who is gay, intelligent, sensitive to the intricate meaning of life and the cruelty and senselessness of war.  You hear his music, as if through his headphones, as he madly dances alone -a warrior in a scarred wasteland- calming himself during a lull between battles.  All around him are fellow young American combatants who seem to have lost their sense of right and wrong, while he vainly tries to rescue lost bewildered innocent little animals from their cruelty.

This is the story of a man trying to not to lose his soul in the camaraderie of combat, clinging to his sanity and his sense of self, to who he is as a human being, amidst the grit, death, and

destruction of war.  In all that there is an unspeakable loneliness, which he portrays in his description of a brief sad and loving meeting of eyes, and more, with a gay Iraqi civilian.

Having spent time on stages, and ten years in uniform, I can very much appreciate the skill, creativity, energy, and effort that went into this production.

As of this writing, The Eyes of Babylon is playing in New York City.  Whether you are gay or straight, a hawk or a dove, it is definitely something I'd recommend for all to see.  As told, it is an essential part of American history.