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‘Letters Home’ takes audience on emotional rollercoaster ride

By Kayloni Wyatt
Managing Editor
Hayley Burgess
News Editor
Dec. 3, 2009

The war gripping play “Letters Home” was performed to 140 audience members of students, faculty and military veterans Nov. 16 in GPAC.

The play depicted the lives of multiple soldiers who served in Iraq during the beginning of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” The play is inspired by a New York Times Opinion article entitled “The Things they wrote.” That article later on became an HBO documentary called “Last Letters Home.”

As the lights dimmed in the room, pictures of soldiers and the war in Iraq reflected on the projector. The 10 actors surrounded the stage and each took turns sharing letters written by soldiers and parents of those who had children serving in the war.

Some of the actors played multiple caracters in order to tell all of their stories, while other actors played just one to show the impact of the soldier to the audience. All of the actors were dressed in army fatigues with the exception of one actress who dressed in civilian clothes because she portrayed the mothers.

The play hit close to home when a few soldiers depicted were from Fort Bragg, N.C. It slowly became an emotional rollercoaster for the audience when the realization that the majority of the soldiers who had only days left in Iraq were killed before they could return home.

“I thought ‘Letters Home’ was a very heartfelt play. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is very serious and this play shows us how big of a part we play in this war,” Senior Brittany Milliken said.

“Whether it's writing letter, emails, or calling, we should all do our part. Being a part of AFROTC I just think this could be me or someone I care about. Death overseas does not discriminate against what branch you are, age, color, gender, it does not matter at all,” Milliken said.

The actors gripped the right emotions for their heartbroken letters of hope to return home to see their families. The actors started their dialogue with a greeting to people at home and jumped into what was going on in the war at the time the soldier was in the Middle East.

One soldier wrote letters to his wife and newborn baby girl. His story was funny and enlightening until the inevitable was announced that he was killed two days after his daughter’s first birthday. The audience members’ gasps of shock and sadness was heard throughout the auditorium.

The emotional ride didn’t stop then, but went on to tell some letters from mothers. One mother told of her struggle in dealing with her son who had an amputated leg. In her letter, she talked about how hard it was for her and her son.

Before the play started, members of the audience who served in the military and are currently serving were honored.


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Updated: Saturday, December 5, 2009
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