Civilian A compelling documentary drama, Civilian, based on the riveting oral history interviews of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will premiere at the 15th New York International Fringe Festival. The play, by the noted playwright Herman Daniel Farrell III, tells the story of the tough transition from soldier to civilian.Farrell, co-writer of the Peabody Award winning HBO Film "Boycott" that featured Jeffrey Wright as Martin Luther King Jr. returns to the Fringe for the third time with this docudrama. Farrell’s play about George W. Bush, "ROME," premiered at the 2004 FringeNYC and his play "Portrait of a President" concerning Bill Clinton’s legacy won an Excellence in Playwriting Award at the 2002 FringeNYC.
In January of 2010 at the University of Kentucky, Doug Boyd, director of the Nunn Center for Oral History, working with veteran and alumnus Tyler Gayheart and Tony Dotson, director of the Veterans Resource Center, launched the oral history project "From Combat to Kentucky" in order to chronicle the stories of student veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subsequently, Farrell, an assistant professor of theatre at the University of Kentucky, and students in his "Staging History" Theatre Department course, devised a verbatim theatre piece drawn from the oral history transcripts. The play Bringing It Home: Voices of Student Veterans premiered in April 2010 in the Armory on the University of Kentucky campus and was subsequently produced in November 2010 at Eastern Kentucky University and again at the UK Armory as part of the Veterans Day commemorations.
The play Civilian, by Farrell, incorporates additional interviews by student veterans and dares to address a current brewing problem in America. "Recently, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed his concern that there is a growing divide between those who have served in the armed forces and the civilian populace,” notes Farrell. “This play closely examines the current fraught relationship between civilians and veterans while also conveying the heart-wrenching stories of men and women who served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned home and have struggled to make the transition back to civilian life.”
The cast, crew and writer/dramaturgs of Bringing it Home: Voices of Student Veterans included: Kendrel Dickerson, Joe Fields-Elswick, Michael Fischer, Tanner Gray, Callie Hanks, Andrew Hill, Kara Strait, Maggie Howell, Alex Koehl, Natalie Nicole, Max Baron Reid, Brian Sprague, Kevin Sullivan, Emmanuel Thurman and Lindsay Warnick. Fischer, one of the eight actors featured in the production, is not only a theatre major but is a veteran of the war in Iraq.
The veterans depicted in the production are UK students Ian Abney, Jonathan Herst, Stephanie Murphy, Andrew Napier and Nathan Noble.
The FringeNYC production of civilian is being produced by the UK Department of Theatre Chair, Nancy Jones, in association with the Veterans Resource Center Director, Anthony Dotson, the Nunn Center for Oral History Director, Doug Boyd, and the College of Fine Arts Dean, Michael Tick.
Tickets go on sale July 22, 2011:
New York International Fringe Festival 2011
The Bleecker Theatre
45 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012
At Lafayette Street. One block north of Houston Street and one block east of Broadway.
SUN, August 14 @ 7:30p; WED, August 17 @ 5:15p; SAT, August 20 @ 2:00p; TUE, August 23 @ 9:00p; SUN, August 28 @ 4:00p