The dynamics of forced togetherness surfaces and seethes while four Yorkshiremen hope to survive massive, unrelenting war-time bombing above their heads. This is Operation Crucible, a 2013 play by Kieran Knowles produced by Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company.

The irony just below that surface is that they are also part of the cause for the destruction. They help produce weapons of mass destruction and, in 1940, feel the unleashed power of munitions in the German blitz that hits their Sheffield factory. The solidarity of what was once a team threatens to disintegrate even as the building above them falls apart.                                                                                                 

British reviewers noted the “no-nonsense humor ( “and emotional punch…rarely swamped in sentimentality”  (

Knowles is Manchester- born and has had an extensive career as an actor; this appears to be his only play so far.

In the course of 75 or so minutes, there will be no relief. The staging may really bring home the feeling of tight-knit tension. These men are walled in by human flesh: the audience peering directly over their shoulders.     

Operation Crucible runs Oct.21-Nov.19. Jewish Community Center, 333 S. 132nd St. Fri. & Sat: 7:30 p.m. Su: 6;30 p.m. $20-25.

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