What is life like for veterans returning from war? What happens "over there" and what happens "in here" for those who serve, and for their families? Frequently, returning veterans experience alienation and invisibility as they integrate back into a society that has not experienced what they have. Through a three-part series of workshops over the last several months, the Arcata Playhouse and area creators and producers put together an impressive, important piece giving voice to the experiences, changes and challenges for this oftentimes silent faction of our community. Echoes of War, a multimedia performance that documents veterans, their families and survivors of war and their experiences of coming home, plays at the Arcata Playhouse on Oct. 22 through Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 25. ($10, $8 for veterans).
Local storyteller Ali Freedlund held workshops where veterans and those affected by war shared their experiences and, with her help, fine-tuned them for presentation. Stories include those of Vietnam War veterans, a National Guardsman who served in Afghanistan, a Bosnian Muslim who fled her home in Sarajevo, a Jewish woman who escaped Nazi Germany, a veteran of the Iraq War and a Navy veteran who participates in the Run to the Wall every Memorial Day. Participants also had their photos and stories captured for local audio archive and the Library of Congress by audio engineer Tammy Rae Scott.
For the performance at the Playhouse, directors Zuzka Sabata and Jacqueline Dandeneau bring together the narrative pieces, visual images and live music representing the different war eras to create the final production. The playhouse will also be draped in large banners from "A Break in the Battle," a project from Fort Benning depicting soldiers, their tattoos and the stories behind them.
Finally, a compilation of a recording of the live performances at the Playhouse and the archived tapes will be broadcast on KHSU on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.