Page 16 - Foreign Service Journal - September 2013

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the DC Metro Teater Arts preview
the problem with a satire focus-
ing on the bizarre way the United States
chooses its top diplomats “is that many
Americans don’t even know that we
have diplomats, much less have any idea
what they do. Foreign afairs—the armed
forces handle that, don’t they? Alas, they
do, more and more, partially because of
the ridiculous system lampooned in this
Similarly, the most common audi-
ence reaction in Cambridge was: “Do
you Americans actually pick ambassa-
dors like that?”
Te performance this reviewer
attended drew a full house, including a
healthy representation of AFSA mem-
bers. Despite some staging constraints
imposed by the venue, and uneven
performances from the supporting cast,
most of the one-liners landed solidly
enough, even with the “lay” members
of the audience. However, the skill with
which Amb. Butts dispatches a series of
professional and personal challenges
over the course of the second act could
be seen as evidence that non-career
chiefs of mission do have their virtues.
Henry Butterfeld Ryan joined the
Foreign Service in 1961, serving with
the U.S. Information Agency for the
next quarter-century in Brazil, Norway,
Australia and Washington, D.C. USIA
also sponsored him for an academic year
at Harvard, where he earned a master’s
degree in public administration. (He
later went on leave without pay to earn a
doctorate in diplomatic history at Cam-
bridge University.)
Since retiring from the Foreign
Service in 1986, Mr. Ryan has written
books in genres ranging from novels
to biographies and history, as well as
several plays.
—Steven Alan Honley, Editor