Warrior Chorus ATX
by Canopy Theatre Company
Sep. 15 - Dec. 15, 2018
“The veterans in the Warrior Chorus have worked hard to bring to the surface and then get across the many meaningful stories each of them carries inside. They are bringing to life and learning how to convey vividly what they saw and came to know when they were soldiers,” Palaima says. “It is terrific to watch them create the atmospherics that place me there where they once were and in some ways still are. Their generosity, honesty, sense of humor, ability to laugh at life’s absurdities, and lack of affectation make every meeting feel now like a warm family reunion.”
The veterans expose themselves by recounting memories from war and training, inviting others in to feel or at least become aware of what life is like in their boots. Their raw recollections depict what it’s like to go through training for the U.S. Marines, to be marched into a room filled with gas and then hear the orders barked to remove your mask. “How do you take a breath that will last ten minutes?” Palaima questions.
Or what it’s like to be assigned the mundane task of watching and guarding a road repair work team in Haditha, Iraq, late at night without knowing if you are a target for guerrilla warfare or simply an added stress in the day of an Iraqi mother held up by the roadwork, trying to get her children to school on time.
Or the moral battles army medics face when caring for prisoners who may have been directly responsible for the wounds and deaths of U.S. soldiers. “What is it like for a medic to stand outside their cells preparing to administer medical treatment and then to hear a young prisoner cry out, ‘I want my mother?’” UT Classics scholar Prof. Tom Palaima asks.
These are the stories of today’s warriors, the stories Pitchford and Palaima encourage veterans to share weekly, and soon on a public stage, in a shared group effort to humanize the military and wartime, to eliminate misconceptions about soldiers and veterans, and to provide a window into their lives.
“My central pedagogical focus is on opening up space for memories to resurface and then helping the participants to embody those memories,” Canopy Theatre director Bart Pitchford says. “The goal is neither to be cathartic nor nostalgic, but to approach these individual experiences from honesty.”
somewhere in Austin
to be announced
Austin, TX, 78700
Dates approximate; listed as September - December, 2018. More forthcoming. (June 1, 2018)