Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Drama Department’s "War Stories" Brings Variety of Military Voices to Life October 26-28

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Washington College Drama Department will premier “War Stories,” an original play adapted from the modern anthology of wartime writings, Operation Homecoming, the weekend of October 26-28.
          The performances, scripted and directed by drama professor Dale Daigle, will take place in Decker Theatre, Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts, with two evening showings, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and a Sunday matinee at 1 p.m.
            Daigle, who had been searching for a piece that dealt with the issues of war, was immediately drawn to “Operation Homecoming,” which was published by Random House in 2006 and later made into a documentary film. “Within ten minutes I was blown away by these people’s stories,” he says. “They were powerful and compelling in very simple ways.”
            “Operation Homecoming,” edited by “War Letters” author Andrew Carroll, was the result of a program launched by the National Endowment for the Arts to encourage U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and their families to write about their experiences with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The final product is a collection ranging from eyewitness accounts and letters to poems and private journal entries, each offering a different perspective on the effects of war. 
            “The book was full of stories from people of all walks of life, and all sides of war, and I thought, ‘what a great place to start a piece,’” says Daigle of his source material.  This variety of perspectives carried over into the adaptation of the script, he adds.  “Unlike a normal play where you’re always aware of the playwright’s voice, the voices here are infinitely different.”
            The play has been a collaborative effort. Daigle has been discussing its development with juniors Harris Allgeier, Kristin Hammond, Zach Weidner, and Phaedra Scott since last June, and the play has continued to evolve with input from others in the 11-member cast. Daigle hopes the play will prompt discussion of the stakes of war and “remind us of its impact.”
            Daigle’s most recent directorial work was the world premiere of All Blues by Robert Earl Price, a lecturer in creative writing and drama at the College.  That play debuted at Washington College in the fall of 2011 and then traveled to 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta, Ga.  In addition to Washington College plays, Daigle has directed productions in Maine, Hawaii, Scotland, Kyoto, Samoa, Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
            Tickets are priced at $5, or $3 for students and seniors, and proceeds will go to the NEA to help fund future Operation Homecoming projects. For ticket reservations, call 410-778-7835 or send an email to