The First National Veterans Theater Festival
May
23
to May 26

The First National Veterans Theater Festival

Acts of Engagement

These veteran acted, veteran stories offer a wide range of experience from intimate and personal to world view and across gender, race and conflicts. The companies hail from New York, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and of course, Wisconsin.

Civilian audiences will find these performances powerfully moving, deeply affecting, and will grip their attention with excellent entertainment value. We hope to also see them learn something about the consequences of war that our families, neighbors, and fellow citizens must grapple with in our name. Suffering knows nothing of Red nor Blue.

Both FoC and The Telling project use theater to help veterans who, for the most part, have no acting experience express their personal stories. Stephan Wolfert, The Combat Hippies, and The Color of Courage are professional performers.

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Color of Courage
May
24
7:30 PM19:30

Color of Courage

Presented by Mitchell Capel and Sonny Kelly

Approximately 75 minutes; audience talkback following [BUY TICKETS]

Approximately 180,000 African Americans, comprising 163 units served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Mitchell Capel and Sonny Kelly are “a force to be reckoned with” as they bring to life a fraction of the untold stories of the hundreds of thousands of unsung heroes...heroes whose glory and honor have remained unspoken for entirely too long. With its powerfully poetic embodiment of these rare stories, framed by a multi-media presentation, this experience leaves audiences breathlessly enlightened and ultimately encouraged.

“I defy anyone not to be moved by these soldiers, black or white. These two are a FORCE!”
~ Bo Thorp, Founding AD, Cape Fear Regional Theatre

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She Went to War
May
25
2:00 PM14:00

She Went to War

Presented by The Telling Project

Approximately 55 minutes; audience talkback following [BUY TICKETS]

In March 2017, She Went to War opened at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. She Went to War  is new work by The Telling Project, an autobiographical performance by four female veterans, all of whom, in widely varying capacities, experienced significant combat exposure during their terms in the military. Their stories speak to and for many, many more women whose roles put them in the line of fire. SWTW will be an opportunity for the American public to understand and acknowledge the distinctive and important roles women have played on the battlefield.

“She Went to War has no ideology but a clear-eyed sense of purpose: that of educating civilians about the experience of women in combat zones.”
~ Eric Ringham, MPR News

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Amal
May
25
7:30 PM19:30

Amal

Presented by The Combat Hippies

Approximately 70 minutes; audience talkback following [BUY TICKETS]

Amal (hope in Arabic) is a theater/spoken word piece written and performed by the Combat Hippies, an ensemble of Puerto Rican veterans of the Iraq War, and was developed and directed by award winning theater artist Teo Castellanos. It delves into the impact of war on both combatants and noncombatants as people of color, shares experiences of veteran’s adjustment to life after war, as well as that of refugees and asylum seekers from war-torn countries. The piece will be influenced by an aesthetic we are calling “Afro Rican Punk.”

... “Amal” really resonates with a unique neo-urban-intelligent tone, rhythm and flow. The soundtrack is dope, as is the choreography and synergy between Torres and Arriaga.
~ J.J. Colagrande, The Jitney

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De-Cruit: Cry Havoc
May
26
2:00 PM14:00

De-Cruit: Cry Havoc

Performed by Stephan Wolfert

Approximately 75 minutes; audience talkback following [BUY TICKETS]

Using Shakespeare’s timeless words, and a few of his own, actor/veteran Stephan Wolfert leads us on an interactive journey to meet Shakespeare’s veterans. He also brings us face to face with one of the most vexing military – and civilian – problems of our time.

Men and women are tested and trained before entering the military. While serving in the military, they continue to be tested and trained to ensure “combat readiness”. But there’s no “off switch”. After years of testing and training to maintain combat readiness, there is no testing and training to leave military service and rejoin the civilian world. Shakespeare had something to say about that. He wrote about the relationships between veterans, politicians and civilians. He wrote about how these relationships can either prevent or create havoc.

De-Cruit: Cry Havoc unites veterans with civilians. It shows us that the military men and women of Shakespeare’s time wrestled with the same hopes and worries that occupy our modern lives. It explores the difficulties that our veterans and their families face. And maybe, just maybe, it will help them truly come home.

" ...with the rhythm of a fireworks finale - it builds and explodes and builds and explodes - we realize the show is also about history, drama, justice and mental health."
~ Wei-Huan Chen, Houston Chronicle

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And Comes Safe Home
May
23
7:30 PM19:30

And Comes Safe Home

Presented by Feast of Crispian

Approximately 90 minutes; audience talkback following [BUY TICKETS]

The heart of this piece is the exploration and communication of veteran’s personal stories through both their own words and the words of Shakespeare’s plays accompanied by live music from military veteran and singer-songwriter Jason Moon. Written by Feast of Crispian.

"And Comes Safe Home" takes Feast of Crispian’s productions to a whole new level. ACSH is beautifully and thoughtfully crafted and delivered with an exquisite sense of insight and growth. With each new FoC production, I almost feel as if I'm journeying along with the individual veterans that I've gotten so familiar with. It's exciting to see how far they've come and where they're going. Kudos!"
~ Susan Scot Fry, Executive Director, Optimist Theatre - Shakespeare in the Park

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