BY KEVIN STEELE —
Six veterans walked onto the stage on Tuesday at the Shea Center for Performing Arts and shared details of their time in the military that some of their family members haven’t even heard.
The production, entitled “The Telling Project,” is a national project with the purpose of deepening audiences’ understanding of the military and veterans’ experiences, according to the web site, TheTellingProject. Tuesday’s performance was one of two that will be held at William Paterson in honor of Veterans’ Week.
The stories that were told were woven together to create one big story that took the audience on a journey through the love, sacrifices, and triumphs experienced by military veterans. They created timelines from the moment the verterans first had a desire to join the military to the present day.
Stephen Harris recounted how it all began for him at the age of 7 when he saw military commercials on TV and play with G.I Joe’s.
Others attributed their interest in the military to their aspirations of doing something important with their lives for the greater good.
“I always had this sense of justice embedded in me; a feeling of responsibility,” said Patrice Crocevera during the show. “I wanted to do right by people.”
Some veterans talked about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and how it is viewed sometimes by others in the military. One of the performers, Jonathan Juarbe, shared a story about a drill sergeant who played down the seriousness of this disorder.
Another vet spoke of the struggles he faced at the beginning of basic training, from not being able to shoot a gun right, and how he was told that he was going to get kicked out. However, he was able to overcome those obstacles, and graduated from basic training with his family in attendance at the ceremony.
At one point in the show, the veterans acted out a typical day in boot camp with loud shouts by drill sergeants, and exercises that they were required to do.
The show was created in 2008 by Jonathan Wei. The stories that were shared on Tuesday were first sent to Max Rayneard, the co-creator who works alongside Wei, and he crafted a script to make six different stories become one.
The next showing of “The Telling Project” is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Shea Center for Performing Arts. The production is free for veterans and for students who have their ID. Tickets for adults are $15; for students without their ID the ticket price is $10.