Voice of the Warrior: We are Enough

Voice of the Warrior covers the winter and spring phases of 2018 Warrior Chorus in 2018, where four previous Warrior Chorus Fellows will take new groups through three phases: readings and education of Greek theater, a new interpretation which these Fellows compose, and then performance.

This episode covers the last class of Phase II, where the four groups review the Veteran-written interpretations of the ancient Greek works. They are putting the final touches on their performance pieces ahead of the public readings on 28 and 29 March, 2018…

Trusting that “you are enough” is difficult for anyone sometimes, but that is the theme for this last day of edits and reading before the public showcases of the new works are set to begin. The concept of being “enough” is on the minds of many as the warm-up begins, and the Veterans and Family Members are reminded to stay focused on what the real actions and reactions might be and understanding they are more than capable of playing real people; after all, these are real people acting, are they not? Emotions, expressions, distractions, are all real things to be incorporated and bring a sense of natural movement to the stage. Being real is not only okay, it’s what the audience wants, and each person has decades of experience with this realism they can bring to the table: it is enough.

Seldom has there been a more poignant statement on the therapeutic potential of theater than this concept of enough. While it is meant to instill the confidence needed to establish points for the audience but not to emote, it also helps instill the feeling of being enough elsewhere in life. There is value in everyone, and that means there is a place for each person where they can feel useful, where they are enough. This confidence, self-worth, and positivity from being enough can last well beyond the performance.

Given this is the last day of rehearsal, the participants of Warrior Chorus can use this boost as they transfer to their final small group meetings. Today is focused on direction and blocking in Johnny’s group. The group is well aware this play is dynamic, and would normally have an intricate set. The ability to convey the scenes to the audience is critical, so they will use any space given with movement text in hand. They are confident in their reading and in the direction given; they are enough, and now it is up to their director Karen to use their talents in sharing the message.

Jenny’s group focused on a timing run through, for once not jumping up and down for their parts. The tone is business-like but still relatively relaxed, even with a few missing members. But without the usual movement in the room, the expressiveness of the fellows is enough to convey relationships and activity. They rely heavily on the friendship built over the recent weeks to help each other perfect understanding and increase the confidence in the room, which will no doubt reflect well on stage the following week.

Bookending the new writing with excerpts of the complex Greek play, Persians, the lines which caused them to ask the questions inspiring the writing, Dan’s group is blocking tonight as well and refining the ideas to get the audience to ask the same questions they did. They need to put forward the similarities in the stories of the war and the death and defeat and it is not an easy task but one they are tackling head on. The group which did not consider themselves a group of actors three weeks prior has taken on the discomfort of performance, all in order to support each other and remind the audience of a never-ending war.

Neath’s group is honing the script, adding the final touches of direction and linguistics to make sure the audience is clear. Less concerned with blocking and always concerned with character voice and tone, they are happy to continue perfecting the script. The group feeling is they are enough, they can convey what is written, and what message is coming across in their modern perspective is the most important issue.

After two phases it is clear each group has developed friendships and support networks to understand, if not articulate before tonight, that each of them is enough. As rehearsal winds down, each participant seems focused and confident in each other and in themselves. The coming week of brand new readings is less nerve-wracking than it was at the beginning of the night, and is definitely something each is proud of and excited to present to the community.

To see the new works read in NYC, come to the ART 502 W 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 on March 28th and 29th with an approximate start time of 6:30pm for public readings (Each play is very different: Jenny and Dan show their pieces on 28 March, Johnny and Neath the 29th, so come for both!). The final reading (excerpts of all four plays) and ceremony for Warrior Chorus is on 11 April at Federal Hall at 6pm. Follow Aquila on FacebookTwitter, and this blog for updates.