My First Workshop of The American Soldier
My very first workshop of The American Soldier in 2011 in front of an audience. You can see a stand in front of me. Hard to believe how far the play has come, and has gone.
The video below is the very first time I performed the play 8 years ago in a workshop for an invited audience. I was nervous beyond words and on top of that, I was incredibly sick with an illness that I’m over now. At the time of this recording, I had a 100-degree fever. I had booked the theatre, had an audience coming, so as we say in the arts, the show must go on.
It’s been a long time to work on a play, eight years, and many in theatre will tell you that when you work on a script for that long, it usually leads to failure. And it’s been a tough play to work on. One, because the material is tough but mainly because you work really hard to make sure you're honoring the veterans and the family members that you're representing in the story.
My goal for this piece of theatre has always been for everyone who sees it, to take a deeper understanding and appreciation for what veterans and their family members have gone through and are going through. And maybe when they see a veteran, they'll go up to them and they'll thank them, and maybe that veteran will feel better. And if he needs help, maybe he'll go somewhere to get help. That's what I'm hoping my play really does.
This play has been hard to put up and it's taken an extraordinary amount of commitment and energy from me, and it should. A play like this demands a high level of commitment. But as much as the play has taken from me, it's repaid me back 10, 20 fold in the stories and the lessons I've gained from the veterans and their letters.
The letters give you a deeper understanding of what sacrifice is, what commitment means and what working together really is. You really start to understand that there aren't any obstacles we can't accomplish as human beings. That's been the biggest lesson I've gained from them, that if you put your mind to something, you can accomplish just about anything.
This play, it's not about whether war is bad or we must go to war. There are many other plays that talk about that point of view. This play simply tries to honor veterans and their family members.