Best New Play - 2009
George Packer's Betrayed at GableStage at the Biltmore
1200 Anastasia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
OK, so Betrayed wasn't completely new when it opened at Joe Adler's GableStage. But it still had that new-play smell. George Packer is probably the best writer The New Yorker has had in a decade or more, and his 2007 article about the Iraqi translators who teamed up with American forces after the 2003 invasion ("Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Trusted America Most") was one of the most powerful pieces of journalism written lately. Packer is no 9-to-5er, and he felt its power too: The plight of the secular, liberty-loving, life-risking Democraphiles he'd met in Iraq haunted his dreams, and this play was the result. It gave the reactionary liberals who proliferated in George W. Bush's second term — the ones with the curiously partitioned minds, who deplored totalitarianism in theory but thought it tolerable in practice, at least when its only enemy was a corrupt Republican administration — one hell of a jolt and reminded our glibbest hawks what the real fight was about and what it was worth. A play can hope to do no more.