Monthly Feature:

war stories


The Stories They've Never Told

By Geary Danihy

Arms and the man I sing…

Thus begins Virgil’s The Aeneid, one of civilization’s first “war stories.” It seems that ever since man has taken up arms he has felt compelled to chronicle his experiences in the storm of battle and, in quieter moments, reflect on what he saw, heard, felt and contemplate his service, how it echoes in his soul.

Many memoirs have been written about a soldier’s life, but on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, the voices of those who have served their country will “sing” their own particular stories at the Wien Experimental Theatre located in Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Performing Arts.

Billed as “War Stories: A Veterans Project,” a creation of Peter Van Heerden, Nina Bentley, and Sonya Huber, it has been underwritten by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the CT Office of the Arts and Fairfield’s Quick Center. The evening will feature 13 men and three women in a performance work that will allow them to give voice to what they experienced during their time of service and, perhaps more important, what they have had to deal with since they left the service.

Most of the participants are homeless veterans from ARBI/Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport, an organization that, since 2002, has provided safe housing, vocational training, job placement, and life skills coaching to help more than 1,000 individuals -- primarily veterans -- leave homelessness behind. 

As Van Heerden explained at a recent rehearsal at the black box theater, the production is an effort in “courageous story telling,” for many of the actors are “at war every single day of their lives.” They are men and women who served their country and who, after their service, “are not supported by the system.”

Photo: The cast of War Stories. All Photos by the author



Vagabond Theatre -- "It just simply had to be."

The Consummate Artist

paul Mullins

Paul Mullins

Originally published on Pillow Talking Blog (Stephanie Lyons-Keeley and Wayne Keeley)

Paul Mullins is a consummate artist. His list of both acting and directorial credits reads like a “Who’s Who” of the Theatre Hall of Fame. He has acted and/or directed in everything from Shakespeare to The Whore and Mr. Moore. Just a sampling of his sterling credentials, Mr. Mullins played the title role to rave reviews in Shakespeare’s Richard III at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and then returned a decade later to direct a production of Richard III which was lauded as “Powerful and enthralling.”

Paul took time out of his busy schedule to chat with Pillow Talking about acting, directing, regional theatre, and his latest endeavor, directing Georges Feydeau’s farce An Absolute Turkey at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT).

PT: Thank you for granting us this interview. We are looking forward to seeing your play at CRT (Connecticut Repertory Theatre). So let’s start with the standard type of opening question. How did you initially get involved with theatre?

PM: Wow. No one has asked me that in a long time. I’ll make it brief. I’m from Houston, Texas. From the time I was ten I knew I was going to be a doctor. I graduated high school and went to college and I was in the middle of a biology/chemistry degree. I found it unfulfilling. Someone said, “Why don’t you audition for this play they are doing here at school?” (laughs). And I said, “That would be silly since I’ve never done anything like that.” But I did. I auditioned for the play and they cast me in it and I sort of never looked back. Well, I looked back for a while and actually got the degree. But I didn’t look back much further than that. I went to drama school at SMU [Southern Methodist University] and then I went to New York and made my living as an actor for the first half of this career and still do. I fell into directing because I was working at a theatre in Florida. The artistic director said, “You’re not coming back anymore because I was getting jobs that paid me better.” I said, “I’d love to come back but maybe you would let me direct a play,” and she did. And then I started doing that. And that’s how I ended up in this spot.


Articles of Interest:



Blogs and Websites of Interest

Blogs about Connecticut theater, movie reviews, and the arts.

OnStage - Theater Opinion & Discussion

Pillow Talking Blog

Zander Opper

Joe's Views -- Joe Meyers' Blog

Artes Magazine -- fine art, architecture, design and theater

Back Stage Buzz - current and archived interviews with CT artists -- movie reviews

CT Arts Connection

WMNR Fine Arts Radio (Rosalind Friedman's Review) (Frank Rizzo reviews)

www.reflectionsinthelight (Lauren Yarger reviews) (Irene Backalenick/David Rosenberg reviews)

Stu On Broadway -- Reviws and comments

Two on the Aisle -- NYC and Connecticut Theater News and Reviews

Howard's Blog



New Season in New Milford

New Milford has announced their 50th Anniversary 2017 season which includes five main-stage shows, five free staged readings, and plans for their ongoing TheatreWorks Kids (TW Kids) program.

The main stage season will kick off in February with Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker. This musical play is billed as a “grownup’s prequel to Peter Pan” and is the innovative and imaginative story based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. A company of a dozen actors play more than a hundred unforgettable characters, all on a journey to answer the century-old question: How did Peter Pan become The Boy Who Never Grew Up? The play is under the direction of Alicia Dempster of Danbury.

In May comes an adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a satire on the perils of Stalinism. This adaptation by Ian Woolridge is a parabolic exploration of totalitarianism anywhere, and has given the world at least one immortal phrase: “Some are more equal than others.”  The animals on a farm drive out their master and take over and run the farm themselves. The experiment is successful, except that the pigs who assume leadership show that their character does not equal their superior intelligence. The show is under the direction of Kevin Sosbe of New Milford.

Summer brings a unique rock and roll musical from Off-Broadway, Zombie Prom, book by John Dempsey with music by Dana P. Rowe.  Zombie Prom is the fictional story of a teenage boy who is literally brought back to life by the love of his high-school sweetheart. Directed by Matt Austin, this sharp- witted contemporary show has been touted by New York Law Journal as being “brighter and better-crafted than both The Rocky Horror Show and Grease put together, with 1950’s musical wit and breathtakingly catchy, rich melodies.”

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