Stowe Theatre Guild’s final show of the 2019 season, the compelling courtroom drama A Few Good Men, is centered on the court-martial of two Marines for the murder of a fellow soldier at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba.

Playwright Aaron Sorkin explores themes such as a moral code of conduct and taking action for what one believes to be the greater good. Although Sorkin could not foresee the current political landscape, with themes of civilian oversight of the military and the possibility for abuses of power, the characters, observations and situations are as relevant today as they were when he wrote this 30 years ago.

When delving into the military aspect of the show, cast members Mark Houle and David Lagala add a personal element to their roles; both have served in the military.

Playing Lt. Colonel Nathan Jessep, Mark Houle, of Colchester, delivers the infamous line, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Houle enlisted for the first Gulf War in 1991 and served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an anti-tank heavy weapons infantry paratrooper, and later was a medic in the Vermont National Guard from 1991-2005. Houle has served on four continents, received specialized training from the British Paratrooper school, and has made more than 100 jumps from planes, helicopters and balloons.

“I find that Aaron Sorkin writes so insightfully about the pressures and externalities of a highly disciplined Marine Corps in its attempts to never falter from reaching the mark of perfection,” Houle said. “He embodies the spirit of both the infantry and the non-military perspective of flawed human beings.”

David Lagala of Waterbury, who plays Capt. Matthew Markinson, trained for two years at a number of U.S. bases in preparation for his deployment to Vietnam. He was active duty in the military from 1966-1970 and served two tours in Vietnam as a medic.

“Because of my classification, I was in high demand and called upon to support many different units in combat: Marines, River Patrol, Navy Seals, Sea Bees and others,” Lagala said.

Both men share a similar sentiment: that being part of the cast of “A Few Good Men” brings up memories of their own experiences.

“The dialogue really brings me back,” Houle said. “It feels like I have made a trip back in time reliving my military service. It invigorates that part of my soul deeply.”

“The play brings back several strong memories of enlisted men and officers with whom I interacted both here and ‘in country.’ I see aspects of our characters in those men,” Lagala said. “After more than 50 years, I am finding it enjoyable and gratifying to revive and relive some aspects of my memories. I like to think that my performance, in some way, honors the seven friends (lost in the Vietnam war) who died young.”

The show runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 12, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, upstairs in the Akeley Memorial Building at 67 Main St. in Stowe.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and $14 for children (12 and younger). New this year, the first Thursday of each show — Sept. 26 for this show — offers discounted tickets of $15 each for all ages.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at, 253-3961 or at the box office on show days.

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