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
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.
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CT Arts Connection
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Stu On Broadway -- Reviws and comments
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