House party/fundraising salon hosted by Shannon Cain in her downtown Tucson, 7th floor apartment. Twenty-five people squeezed into the living room, sat on couches, the floor, chairs, pillows and a trunk by the food table in the back. Not a dry eye in the house that evening. Small quarters make for more intense performances. . . in the classroom setting as well as in a private living space. There's no escaping the performer's eye when you are just feet away.
Here is what some of those guests had to say:
"I feel grateful to the artists for giving me a meaningful way to engage with the overwhelming reality of what is occurring in the world--the cost of what my country is doing. I have not found other meaningful ways of engaging. I find most of the ways these issues are presented and discussed to be inhumane, alienating and even more painful."
"[I am] thunderstruck by the experiences these women had. Never, ever in my life have I heard firsthand tellings of what it is like to be a woman in the military. I feel somewhat heartbroken by what they witnessed."
"I am moved because this performance gives me such a visceral, immediate connection to women whose lives may at first seem so different than mine. The words spoken here make me know these women are not different from me. They are my sisters."
"It was easy to visualize women in war---the conflicts, the intensity, the never-ending injustices--danger from within our military. I feel loss of life, permanent scaring--damaged souls. . . perhaps the lucky ones are the dead."
"I feel the women in the military desperately trying to make sense of something that makes no sense. There is poignancy in trying on the various cliches of war---when in the end it breaks down to horror and pointless violence."
"I feel like I've overlooked and not honored my own military upbringing. Yes, Air Force brat was such a badge of pride, but the late 60s and 70s buried that and I buried that and all the families that I knew who lost---literally "lost": MIA. Dads, husbands. Thank you for bringing those memories to the surface."