Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 12 of the Tour: 9-20

Today we performed for three different sections of Dave Sudak's AP English class at Catalina Foothills High School---three in a row. Approximately 24 students per section, and again we were in close quarters with no barrier between the stage and the audience. When asked the question how many students have thought about or are planning to go to the military, one young man raised his hand.

Dave Sudak said of the experience: "Thank you, Kore Press and performers, for sharing *Coming in Hot* with our AP Lit classes.  I can’t think of a better complement to our unit on literary impressionism (and more specifically Heart of Darkness). Emphasizing the conveyance of experience, with a fidelity to what the military feels like to its many female voices, the play took a needing demographic of students on a rich, sensory journey.  Each performance – four total in a small fluorescent classroom - was an experience in itself, as individual classes were confronted by (and responded differently to) the raw, sobering material. We all - including the performers - seemed united in our vulnerability.  No protective fourth wall.  No place to hide.   It was an experience unlike any I’ve had (or am likely to have) in the classroom, and one I’m tremendously grateful for."

Here is what his students had to say:

"The realization of how the military effects the minds of soldiers is terrifying."

"I don't support war, I don't know who would, but I really respect those strangers who live to die. Isn't that a cornerstone of the military, of war, in general? Death?"

"I feel cold. Running through the entire performance was death. Death---the coldest place."

"I not only felt sorry for the soldier's struggles, but their families at home, and the innocent civilians affected by war."

"I could smell, hear, and feel everything that they felt. My mind is racing. How could someone go through that? How could someone be in that situation?"

"I feel. . . a sense of awe and humility."

"I also feel quite sure I will never be in the military."

"I feel at a loss to put my impressions into words after the flood of tonality and mood, this flood of the senses, this flood of experiences so divorced from my own."

"I feel confused as if I am not able to be the person needed for my country, where there is life free and bold. I cannot rise to the occasion of becoming one who protects others. Where do we find this strength, this liberty? How do we understand the unknown? Where do I fit in?. . ."

"I feel like the military is another world. People that have been there come back different. I feel like it should be easier than it seems, after all you really just shoot and kill."

"I feel happy that I live in a world apart from all the horrible experiences re-enacted today. It's so easy to just not think about what I saw today, go home, and watch TV and do homework. In fact, that is what I will probably do because honestly, I just want to be happy and ignorant when I'm not in school."

"I feel proud to be in a gender that is constantly fighting to prove ourselves worthy."

"I feel shocked, tired. . . but attentive, sad and confused. . . disgusted, peaceful, yet upset and almost sick. . ."

"I feel a sort of awareness. . . I felt like I was one of those women and can see what they were seeing."

"I feel like I would like to serve my country but I couldn't do it. I feel like the government covers up the truth. I feel like most war isn't necessary."

"I feel incredibly lucky in the most absurd way. . .it seems completely wrong that I should be so lucky when so many more, the majority of the world is less lucky than me. Why do I get to be comfortable? Why do I have family and friends that love me? Why don't I ever have to pay some kind of steep price for all my good fortune? maybe it will come eventually. I am so selfish for wishing I won't have to."

"After watching *Coming in Hot* my perspective on the US military in general is that it has betrayed the idea/reputation of the American people---women soldiers have a far more difficult road than men and the way they are treated is horrible. Changes must be made / voices must be heard. Before we change the world, we need to change ourselves."

"Why would anyone want to be in the military anyway? It is so dangerous and scary. I admire the women who have that sort of courage. It's weird to pity the women you admire."

"i feel empowered that women who choose can help support our country and protect us."

"The most shocking message I got from the play was that of sexual harassment in the military. Here, servicemen are portrayed as being honorable and something to aspire to, but when they are pulled away from society they are reduced to basic instincts. i also think that the military doesn't share this information with the public."

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