There is no greater truth about war than the truth that is told to us by our soldiers. I saw The Telling Project in Portland Oregon and was deeply moved. Hearing their stories about life before, during, and after war, live in a theatrical venue was transforming. The soldiers' stories of war are personal and at the same time universal and epic. Every soldier, family and community member becomes a casualty of war. We have yet to understand the profound effects of war on all of us. We should have learned from previous wars that soldiers need to tell their stories, and we need to hear them. Possibly, if we participate in these kind of homecoming rituals, we may think harder before sending more soldiers into battle, and will feel compassion when they return, and we will truly care for them. The Telling Project performs a great humanitarian service to help soldiers come home.
As a cast member of Telling: Portland, I found the entire experience to be a positive one (even the forth hour of bi-weekly rehearsal at nearly ten in the evening). It gives veterans a chance not only to share their story with the community, but also with other veterans who have had similar experiences. Ironically, some of the things I shared on stage with the general public, I had not even told my family. I first got the courage after interviewing on camera and telling my story to co-writers, Max Rayneard and Jonathan Wei. Their positive feedback made me feel comfortable enough to commit to performing. Secondly, the support of the other cast members made it that much easier to get on stage and say what I’ve wanted to say. I definitely have no regrets and would gladly do it all over again. I recommend being a part of this project for any veteran from any community.
As the spouse of a vet, an interviewee, an audience member, and a writer/performer at the Service Nation event in DC, I am deeply grateful for my involvement with Telling. I think it would not be hyperbole to say that the Telling Project has the capacity to save lives. In the age of the volunteer army and the polarized homefront, Telling provides a venue for veterans to be heard and civilians to be challenged and moved. Perhaps more importantly, it allows veterans and loved ones to navigate the haunted terrain of life in wartime with compassion, grace, and, yes, levity.
I worked closely with The Telling Project last fall when they joined us for a performance in Washington, DC. The organization I am a part of - ServiceNation - was launching its civilian-military initiative, known as Mission Serve, last Veterans Day. The Telling Project volunteered their services to perform for our audience at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, sharing the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and Mrs. Alma Powell, among others. The cast and crew of The Telling Project were truly a joy to work with. They were professional, flexible, punctual, and extremely competent. Most importantly, however, they were incredibly inspiring. They do such an amazing job of communicating the veteran and military family experience to civilians, which is at the heart of the Mission Serve experience. It was an honor to work with The Telling Project, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again.
This project began a series of good things that continues to echo and multiply far beyond the play itself---effects that reach as far inside as out. Psyches are permanently modified by the Telling. Anyone who has the capacity for compassionate insight will be a quantum leap ahead in understanding far more than just the military or combat experience. This is a microscope, and fisheye lens into aspects of life that far too many never allow themselves to glimpse. Those who do see, really see, what the Telling evokes are wiser to a degree far beyond the energy they invest. This is not to say it is easy. Being in the play was devastating for me, took me back to feelings long buried, and it was as though they were ripped from my psyche with pliers. Others saw them though, and the response has been overwhelmingly Good. It is terrible irony that in this time of unprecedented capability for communication, young people are being sent off to war by the hundred-thousands without any real concept in their minds, or the minds of the population who underwrite their military experience, what the hell they are getting into and what it portends for the rest of their lives. The commonly accepted figure at present is that we spend $1,000,000 per average soldier per year to keep them in Iraq and Afghanistan. But when they return, almost certainly wounded with PTSD if not physically, they are cut loose and have to fight disgusting, protracted bureaucratic infights for years, for the government to oh-so-reluctantly surrender any benefits. It is the continuing curse of the Vietnam war, it projects into the future of the young women and men who serve now. It is a cancer on our society, bringing conflict home to visit our families and our social fabric. The Telling Project provides an extremely effective way for us to continue to serve our country and our fellow citizens. It should be required for every one of us.
I have been lucky enough to be a performer and project director for the first Production in Eugene, OR. I have also performed for the NASPA conference in Seattle, Washington and the Service Nation Mission Serve event in Washington D.C. I'm currently the Program Director for the Starkville, MS Telling Production and just recently spoke as a presenter at the Northwest Network Conference at Portland State University. My experience with the Telling Project has been a positive one. I have seen veterans and dependents grow as leaders and seen first hand civilians reevaluate their views on the military, veterans, and the current conflicts. As a Director for a student veterans organization I wanted a Project that gathered veterans together to share their experiences, challenge and provide the community to listen and gain new perspectives, address the generalizations that are bestowed on veterans, gather veterans from multiple campaigns to hear each others stories, and assist in the fight of PTSD and reintegration of our veterans. The Telling Project does all of these things in an innovative way; and I can't thank the Telling Project enough for taking the initiative to encourage veterans to share their stories to the community.
I performed in Telling Eugene, in the original and following run, and in D.C. This experience helped me to grow as a person and awarded me with the opportunity to meet some fantastic people. I believe that The Telling Project is a great public service that has and will continue to give veterans a way to heal; or, just as importantly, provide them with a place to put the stories that they carry with them.
I have had the honor, through The Telling Project, as a civilian and a writer, to have had the opportunity to work with veterans. It has been a life-changing experience. The stories told to me, the sincerity of their will to serve, the dignity with which veterans carry their experiences with them, has been an example to me. In turn, to have seen veterans and veteran organizations affiliated with the Project flourish in their personal and professional capacity has been one of the great experiences of my life. This project, I truly believe, makes a difference to everyone it touches. I am very thankful to be a part of it.
I have had the honor of working with Mr Wei,Mr Addis and Mr Alves and I can tell you they are truly doing our veterans senior and younger generation a true selfless service.I have a challenge for anyone, go and see a telling and you will see what I mean it will move you like you have never been moved; I promise.
I have watched the previous shows of "The Telling Project" and it has very much moved me. To hear different stories and different experiences was amazing and it made me appreciate the men and women who serve to protect our country more. I'm glad to be part of the Sacramento production to help spread the word about "The Telling Project". Not only is it great to help spread the word, i'm also making some great friends as well.
The Telling Project plays an essential role bridging the growing gap between the military and civilian communities in a time of war. As a civilian audience member and board member, my understanding of military life is infinitely more nuanced having heard from naval electricians, combat marines, medics, and the wives of deployed combatants. There is not a performance I've seen (even if I've seen it multiple times) at which I did not both laugh out loud and weep. As an ardent liberal and opponent of "the war" I have learned that there is no such thing as "the war." There are as many wars as there are members of the military. Telling has shown the human experiences of its participants which defy easy classification and silence sloganeering. I am a better citizen for being a less clear proponent or opponent of our military policy overseas. On a personal note, Telling has helped me better understand my veteran father's experiences during Vietnam and has helped undo our silences around that era. I am proud to work with Telling. I am proud of the participants who open up their memories and hearts in such a public forum. I am forever changed by their testimony and have enjoyed every minute of every show. They are an amazing group, as performers and as people. The challenge now for the Telling Project is to get the word out to more communities and to draw more broad-based funding so that financial need is not the reason more veterans and families and more audiences are missing out of this transformative experience.
As a former performer and now involved with the Telling project,the project will be with me for the rest of my life in a good way it has helped me grow as a person. The Telling project is a comprehensive program that can actively help individuals that are veterans and are individuals that are not veterans. It is as it says it is giving people a chance to listen, a chance to speak and a chance to be involved.
The Telling project was the best thing I ever did for myself and my family. It gave me the chance to process what had happended to me and help me heal. I believe that I am a better person and counselor because of it.
My participation with Telling has enhanced my knowledge of the performing arts, the surrounding theatre community, the community as a whole, as well as my fellow veterans and colleages at and around Portland State University. By re-visiting the different experiences of veterans I have come to better understand how to deal with the issues and feelings accompanied by exposure to military life. Telling has had a profound impact on me as a person and was, with out a doubt, a life altering experience.