John Layman, Storyteller
JOHN LAYMAN, UMD Professor Emeritus, Physics and Science Education & Donor
Theater has the luxury of generating re-creations and interpretations of events and ideas plucked from all of history and from the imaginations of men and women. Fortunately, on extraordinary occasions, theater will create new history to be savored by history’s creators and those of us privileged to be present.
The history generated that evening may have begun within our group in the Clarice Smith Center, but one cannot tell where it has gone from there.
A few years ago, on an ordinary Thursday evening in the Clarice Smith Center, I had the opportunity to revisit the Pentagon Papers first-hand, as Ben Bradlee and Daniel Ellsberg — two men who played major roles in changing public opinion about the Vietnam War — appeared on our stage. They shared a plethora of insightful comments and descriptions that only they could provide. The cogency of their remarks and the descriptions of the times and conditions when the Papers emerged have remained critical beyond that night, partly because our own country has chosen to pursue two new wars. The history generated that evening may have begun within our group in the Clarice Smith Center, but one cannot tell where it has gone from there.