War, Albert Camus once wrote, “lives inside ourselves.” Sometimes, internal wars stem from experiences in actual wars; sometimes, from a single image. In 1993, Canadian journalist Paul Watson photographed a crowd dragging the desecrated body of Staff Sgt. Bill Cleveland through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia. The photo had a profound impact; some, including Watson, argue that the picture precipitated President Bill Clinton’s decision to pull out of the Somalian conflict. But for Watson—who believes he heard Cleveland say “If you do this, I will own you forever” just seconds before he snapped the soon-to-be infamous frames—the image has become a relentless specter. When Dan O’Brien, a playwright grappling with his own demons, heard Watson speak about the photograph in 2007, he emailed the journalist, and, without fully grasping what drew them to each other, they developed a mutual curiosity. O’Brien’s play, The Body of an American, explores their unexpected friendship. Two actors play O’Brien and Watson—as well as a host of other characters—and the disjointed dialogue and scattered scenes bleed into one another as they circle around these two haunted men. War inhabits them; it dwells within them. Yet they continue to engage each other and reach for understanding—for some semblance of redemption amid the fragmentation. The play runs April 27 to May 22 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. $27–$67. (202) 777-3210. theaterj.org.