A new play by UW Oshkosh theatre professor Richard Kalinoski about a soldier returning from active duty will make its debut at Eastern University Campus in St. Davids, Penn., on Veterans Day.
Eastern University Theatre will present “My Soldiers” — written by critically acclaimed playwright Kalinoski and directed and developed by Mark Hallen, Eastern’s director of theatre — at 8 p.m. Nov. 11 to 14 and at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 in the McInnis Auditorium.
“My Soldiers” tells the story of Angi, a young woman returning from military service in Iraq as a medic. Her struggles to regain her sense of reality and humanity propel her into an escalating series conflicts with her family, her friends and her memories.
Kalinoski was inspired to write “My Soldiers” after a chance meeting in 2005 with a female medic who served in the Army National Guard in Iraq. This woman’s personal story — one of courage, tragedy, self-exploration, and rebirth — became the basis of Kalinoski’s play, but it is only the beginning of the journey inward for the protagonist and the audience.
“Our intention is to tell an untold story about our fellow citizens, friends and families in this time of such suffering in order to show the potential for recognition, acceptance and healing,” said Kalinoski. “Despite the tragedy that has happened to her, Angi’s human heroism must be reclaimed, in however small a way.”
Kalinoski is best known for his play “Beast on the Moon,” which centers on the survival and love of two Armenian genocide refugees in the beginning of the 20th century. It received a Barrymore nomination as Best New Play of the year.
Kalinoski also wrote “Between Men and Cattle,” which focuses on the relationship between two men across the racial divide in America. It also received a Best New Play Barrymore nomination.
Hallen has been a collaborator on both plays, assisting in the artistic development and directing the premiere productions of both in Philadelphia.
He is pleased and proud to work with Kalinoski on this latest production and to bring it first to the Eastern University campus and surrounding community.
“Richard and I have been working together in one way or another, on and off, since 1995,” Hallen said. “Since the very first time I discovered his work, I have been astonished by his gift for crafting language which exposes both cathedral-esque and intimate interiors. Richard Kalinoski’s plays reach into the psychological crucible of the human experience to reveal both the gems and the dark matter that surrounds them without sentimentalizing their reality.”
In March, Hallen directed a reading at the UW Oshkosh with a cast of students, alumni, faculty and professionals. This was followed by two workshops on the script at Eastern in June and August, resulting in the current script in progress.
Kalinoski and Hallen see their work on “My Soldiers” with the Eastern University Theatre production as the basis for the full professional world premiere at the Detroit Repertory Theatre in June 2010 (www.detroitreptheatre.com).
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