Veterans of the U.S. military will share personal stories of service and life after the military in "The Veterans Project," which will be presented at FilmBar in downtown Phoenix on Nov. 9. Currently in its fourth year, "The Veterans Project" is the product of an ongoing initiative at ASU to create space for veteran-civilian community dialogue. Five previous iterations have been performed in Tempe, Phoenix and Tucson since 2013.
The unscripted and uncensored performance aims to push against preconceived notions about who serves, and why. Jeramey Reamer, U.S. Air Force veteran and music director for "The Veterans Project," has experienced firsthand the ways in which “military veterans tend to get crammed into a very outdated and stereotypical mold. Many of us don't identify ourselves with the box that society thinks we fit in. That's exactly what makes ASU's "Veterans Project" so important; it sheds light on the issues that matter, and allows the veterans to express themselves as individuals.”
The process of making the show entails a month-long workshop with local veterans, many of whom have never before performed onstage. Erika Hughes and Boyd Branch, assistant professors in ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre and co-directors of the project, say they have greatly benefitted from their years of working within the Valley veteran community. These veterans-turned-performers, according to Hughes, “represent an incredible range of experiences and political viewpoints, and yet are all willing to share something of themselves with the community in which they live. We’re very grateful for their openness and willingness.”
The importance of sharing and hearing stories is underscored by "Veterans Project" alum Shantelle Reamer, who served in the Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She notes that “anyone born within the past 15 years has never known an America that is not at war. War has become such a common backdrop in our country that we often forget it is still happening. In one short hour, 'The Veterans Project' brings the realities of conflict into focus. Through a relevant and deeply human dialogue, a panel of veterans reveals the true nature of the military, war, and the search for inner peace.”
Audiences are invited to join the conversation at FilmBar, 815 N 2nd St, Phoenix, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9. Admission: $5 or free for veterans. Tickets available at http://thefilmbarphx.com/.