The Dramatic Focus
American military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan is a profound consequence of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC. Americans quite earnestly ‘support the troops’ who have served in those wars, and a common refrain is “thank you for your service.” Nonetheless, many veterans have experienced great difficulty returning to civilian life, and even more feel misunderstood and unappreciated upon their return. Convinced that non-veterans can’t really understand their experiences and sacrifices, veterans often have difficulty talking about their experiences in ways that non-veterans can understand. The disconnection between veterans and non-veterans in America may be greater now than at any other point in American society.
The Aesthetic Aim
To deepen the understanding, connection, trust, and communication among veterans and non-veterans by dramatizing the complexity, ambiguity, honor, and sacrifice that marks the personal experiences of veterans returning to their friends and families from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Insight Research
TÉA artists conducted hour-long, one-on-one, Insight conversations with over 40 veterans from New York City who had recently returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each Insight conversation opened with the following set of questions:
If you could have the conversation with the American people that would like to have:
Who would you like to speak to?
What would you like to speak about?
What would you hope might be better as a result of this conversation?
The Performance Piece
Cadence: Home is a one-act play with an original musical score for piano, drums, guitar, and trumpet. It opens and closes on a memorial church service that marks the anniversary of the death of a Marine who died heroically in a roadside ambush in Iraq. The play traces the inner and outer journeys of eight men and women, linked together by their relations to each other and their fallen friend: the questions they ask, the futures they fear, the ghosts that haunt them, and the decisions they make as they strive to reconnect with their lives, their relationships, and their former selves.
Cadence: Home was originally mounted as a site-specific performance piece at Metro Baptist Church on West 40th Street in New York City (2012) and subsequently performed at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida (2013).
Creator and Artistic Director: Vieve Radha Price
Lead Writers: Chukuma Obasi, Nalini Sharma, Amanda Marikar, Joe Reese, August Dannehl
Co-Directors: Michael Goldfried, Stefano Brancato
Composer: Alex Gemignani
Artistic Advisor: Farid Johnson