Travels with a Masked Man, by John Hadden, is a play about deception, “the game” (espionage) and rough filial love. It is a fifty-minute, two-character, solo performance based on his book, Conversations with a Masked Man: My Father, the CIA, and Me.

Haunted by unanswered questions about his childhood overseas, a man confronts his father, an ex-CIA chief who ruminates darkly on the American Empire, the human animal, and himself. Alternately horrifying, hilarious, and poignant, their verbal contest covers Cold War material from Vietnam to the Middle East and the Bomb, from abstract art to James Bond films––but the real conversation, the subtext, is about what they mean to each other.

John Hadden (senior) was an early member of CIA in Berlin, Hamburg and Salzburg, he was the station chief in Israel during the 60’s, through the Six-Day War, and he ran the “Middle East Desk” in Washington, DC until his quasi-retirement in the early 70s.

The play is performed in minimal style, to bring as intense a focus as possible to the relationship between the two men. For a “second act,” we have a “Fishbowl” conversation. Two pre-designated members of the local community and three volunteer members of the audience speak about their own experience of family issues, and the personal ramifications of politics. With coffee, tea, and tasty things to eat.

Performed by John Hadden/Directed by David Stern, Main Street Arts


To arrange a showing, contact us here!


Review from Chris Rohmann, Valley Advocate, February 2017:

Stagestruck: The Cold Warrior’s Mask


Link to Joe Donohue/WAMC/Roundtable interview here


Link to Chris Lanois/WKVT/Green Mountain Mornings interview:

Travels with a Masked Man


Book news here


Below, a 40-min post-show conversation about the issues: