Those familiar with the American criminal-justice system will find little surprising about the identity of most of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay’s camp: as deputy commander Martin Lucenti acknowledged last October, the vast majority are of low intelligence value or threat status. Guantanamo has essentially served for the last four years as an extrajudicial holding cell for the dregs of the war on terror, people too ignorant to have any negotiating leverage and too insignificant to attract the more extraordinary attentions lavished in facilities whose names we don’t yet know. TimeLine’s production of the exceptional British docudrama “Guantanamo,” composed entirely from actual documentation and interviews, provides a timely reminder of the lives put on indefinite hold despite growing evidence that they pose little if any threat, sacrifices to America’s increasingly hard to justify post-9/11 hysteria. TimeLine’s ensemble delivers engrossing performances, investing Gillian Slovo and Victoria Brittain’s script with a compelling humanity. Slovo and Brittain pepper their text with fascinating, and frequently surprising, details: the humiliatingly inept fingerprinting of one suspect upon his release, the wholesale theft of factory equipment from another. While some may accuse them of cherry-picking sympathetic stories, the very absence of any comprehensive information about the status of prisoners is both the purpose and the overriding flaw of the Guantanamo facility. (John Beer)
“Guantanamo” plays at the TimeLine Theatre, 615 West Wellington, (773)281-8463, through March 26.