Actors’ Play Shows Military POV

The new play at Actors’ Theatre is a big deal in the military community, and has been performed on military bases all over the world. But it provides a more valuable insight into the minds of those who do the fighting for those of us who aren’t connected so closely with the services.

Samerrah Luqmaan-Harros and Brandon Jones in ReEntry Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2011 Photo by Alan Simons

“ReEntry” features five actors who march around the stage, stopping to perform brief vignettes, talking as if being interviewed by an unseen reporter. The dialogue comes from actual interviews conducted with veterans by director KJ Sanchez and Emily Ackerman. exposed are some of the raw emotions felt by soldiers upon their return to civilian life.

Jessi Blue Gormezano in ReEntry Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2011 Photo by Alan Simons

The actors play different characters, including a mother and sister of a family whose sons are enlisted, a returning soldier who’s injured, a young enlisted man, a woman who served in the Middle East and a career officer.

It’s a powerful experience, hearing how these characters feel about their acceptance back home. There’s the woman who’s left out when strangers buy soldiers a round of drinks, because the buyers don’t think a woman could possibly be facing the same danger as the men.  There’s the wounded man who wants only to get back to his unit. The sister who worries about her brothers, but knows she is powerless to change them. There’s a conversation about how it feels when strangers say thank you to them for serving.

Though there’s rough language and a no-always-glorified view of military life, ReEntry tells stories that aren’t in the news media (that’s one of Sanchez’ rules for inclusion in the play) and go to how soldiers feel about their jobs.

ReEntry is at Actors through Dec. 17. Ticket info here.