Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rainshadow, 7pm October 29th

Full house at Rainshadow Community Charter High School on Friday evening, the 29th of October.

Excellent show... So much perspective jammed into 75 minutes... terrific!

Last night's performance was truly awesome and very moving... spectacular woman!

Amazing. Something to help us all understand. Jeanmarie is as versatile and heartbreakingly beautiful as ever.

The performance was outstanding. Everybody should see it, what an eyeopener.

One of the most powerful experiences I've had in a while. She is brilliant and the soundtrack is chilling. We need to find a way for caregivers and patient at VAs to see the production.

Powerful, and made me think. it seems every generation has to relearn the horrors of war...

What an amazing performance! Thank you for doing this. It gave me food for thought, even though I kept quiet during the civil discourse. I was listening and digesting and processing. Still feel it all very much.

Outstanding and important.

Totally sticks with you. Her face is so amazing. she is ALL those women.... actually...aren't we all?

Fantastic, thought-provoking show... a beautifully nuanced one woman show. I was also mightily impressed by the original music that provided a wonderful feel to the piece. Brava!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rainshadow Community Charter High School

About a hundred students, faculty and staff attended the performance October 27th at 2pm. The show was the first of its nature at the school - intense and intimate, rather than raucous and noisy - and the student body wasn't prepared to be quiet at first - they almost seemed to be watching television, making comments and laughing nervously (which is expected with the age group, in general). This video was taken (very washed out, unfortunately, but the audio is good) at a point when Jeanmarie paused to address the situation.

After this point, the room was much more quiet, if not pin-drop, sitting on the edge of the seat attentive. Thank the gods for small favors.


That is horrible and I never want to hear anything like that again.
I thought the performance was amazing! What really caught my attention was the passion in her words. I felt like I was there. She inspires me. I hope she continues to tell people her stories.

I didn't really know what she was talking about.
Thank you so much for bringing this to Rainshadow. It is heart-breaking, beautiful and insightful about a world I personally know very little about. These stories brought me closer to wars my own country has fought, but ones I never could find any sort of connection to. This play made me laugh, cry and angry at different times.

I really couldn't follow. So I didn't enjoy it too much. I didn't at all. Sorry, but I was bored to death. :(

Every word was a picture pixelated deep in my head. I cried. I saw the death. The sexual harassment. The 4 year-old daughter barely understanding the half-truth she was given. For a second, my mind made it real for me. I am a pacifist, myself. I dislike the mind games and the brainwash. But I know emotion is real and raw and this made me feel, and the way she presented this emotion was flawless.

Very threatening - feels like you're there and showed how she felt and went through. Very impacting.

This play showed a lot of things that I didn't know about the military. It was eye opening.

You did really great at performing. Those stories are historical to me now.

My thoughts aren't appreciated by 99% of the world.

It was inspiring.

Yes, it was a good play and it's good to where it tells that there is problems in the army and should be taken care of. Our military shouldn't mistreat women!

Thank you for the stories - they are a reminder of both how far we've come and how far we have to go.

Thank you for coming. That was wonderful. Thanks again.

Thanks for coming. I loved it. It was amazing.

It was very special and amazing and weird, but weird be good.

The performance was life-changing, inspiring and hope he people don't go through this while in the army again.

Thank you, thank you! I could hardly bear to look at you without starting to weep. It will be a very moving tape - no visuals needed. You may feel this has been battle condition performance!

She spoke clearly and she got into her story. It was good how she talked about her story or about the story in war. She was honest. Well it look like you wanted to cry - you were shaking when you were drinking water.

I thought that was a truly powerful story. Thank you for telling us.

I liked it, felt for what happened to these people.

It was inspiring. I'm very proud someone shares the story.

My sister would have loved this. She's going to join. :/

It was an amazing show. It was funny and sad.

I wanted to go into the army, but not anymore. Very beautiful how you expressed their stories. Powerful speech. Very sad.

I thought it was amazing and some of the stories were really messed up and touching.

I liked that the punctuation of the mortuary worker serves dually as a reminder of the premature finality of so many lives and as the specter of impending doom. There is SO MUCH more to say!

I'm impressed with the impression it left with these kids. Unfortunate that the theater medium can sometimes discredit the significance of facts with yet it's own entertainment identity.Without it no one from the general community would endure yet another factual dissertation. Good luck for I hope you open the eyes, and minds of many. After years of Actor's etc.. speaking out on issues, some without any reference,or legitimate justification; I believe while the masses follow unquestionably, the informed scrutinize dumbfounded. I hope your mission/message gets the time due it's importance. America truly needs to wake up from the dream, and become accountable; moral, honest, genuine, considerate, and truly conservative with their self administered entitlement.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Coffee Strong

Coffee Strong
Veteran-owned and operated GI coffeehouse
Lakewood, Washington
October 16 1pm

20 in the audience, 8 veterans all male, 12 family members and barristas. All of the vets came up to me after the show and thanked me. One, who had been in Vietnam, cried and hugged me.


So moving – gut wrenching – wish that it could be performed at all high schools. Performance was amazing.

Brings back memories of ‘Nam.

The powerfully crafted voices are moving, chilling, heavy revealing and, above all things, sacred. Thank you for your passion. I am haunted, saddened, informed and very thankful to hear these stories.

Well portraited. The monologue covers actual accounts of feelings and thought. I wasn’t difficult to fall into her visions in each story. Thank you for the delivery.

Thank you! You touched many parts of my soul and my memory. There’s a lot of pain and healing- still searching for a path after all these years.

I’m humbled. Thanks for your courage to do what scares you and showing the way. I am a therapist with no military background, drawn to be present to help soldiers return. Thanks for your portrayals of the truth of war.


Stage One Theatre
North Seattle Community College

October 15&16 7:30 PM

60 people, at least 75% women. A few male vets. A group of women’s studies students from the school. Friends, family and their friends.

On the 15th, Cindy Domingo (Filipino-American), a WILPF member, was there and spoke to the cut-backs in funding for the poor – how especially for African-American and Latino men the military is becoming the only option for getting out of poverty and having a chance at getting an education, and it is becoming an increasingly attractive option for young women, especially those from non-white populations.

On the 16th, Donna Dean, one of our Powder authors and contributor to the play, was present. She spoke to questions about her history and her PTSD, the way her life has evolved as a result of being a woman in the US military. Jeanmarie was asked about my response to those in the peace community who disapprove of the positive content in the play. She said that, as a peace activist, she believes it is necessary for her net of compassion to evolve and grow and that she needs to hear and consider all voices. Donna Dean clarified the fact that she and other Powder authors are not pacifists or peace activists. She thanked Jeanmarie and Kore for the outreach to them, for revealing their stories and making their voices heard.

Here is what some of the Seattle audience had to say:

"I was at a conference today and listened to a young man with PTSD which began in Marine boot camp and continued with his deployment in Iraq. The echoes are remarkable."

"I appreciate the diversity of experiences reflected/conveyed here, the depth of emotion and reality. Outstanding performance. Truly riveting. Great soundscore. Writing is wonderful."

"Such powerful words and stories and delivery on your part. The economic disparities are so disturbing."

"It felt a little long, but it also seemed not long enough. I was so touched."

"Strong, rich range of voices here. Each one comes through cleanly, directly. It’s a lovely gift you give these women and us – this “channeling” of their needs, fears, passions, losses."

"It was powerful and moving. I loved the range of women represented. I think that because it was performed by one person, it was easier for me to listen and like all the women more equally. VERY glad that my professor recommended it!"

"A very powerful piece that covers the full spectrum of the war experience."

"I really enjoyed the many, diverse voice of women in the military. Perhaps from inside it is hard to critique the military, but I would like to have heard more dissent – perhaps just because I’d like to believe there is more that these women don’t agree with."

"Finally, a play/story from a woman’s point of view. Powerful! Moving!"

"Impressive one-person work. Haunting."

"I was surprised by the statistics of women veterans in regards to abuse. That is a good message to get out."

"I enjoyed the play. I had never heard a story in my life about a woman in the military. It was a HUGE eye opener to me. The statistics shocked me."

"I thought that this was a brilliant show. I think that the way the different pieces were threaded together really brought things to life. I wish I could see it again and again."

"Compelling work and stories. Presenting women’s good and bad experiences needs to be kept."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10-9-10 Hollywood

60 people were in attendance for the "No More Victims" benefit performance hosted by Cole and Ann Miller. Blase Bonpane, Frank Dorrel and other long-time activists from the peace community were there. Dylan Brody lead the after-show discussion (see his review here). One woman in the audience said emphatically that "the violence that has been going on for centuries needs to stop" and that we "must stop it." Another woman made a plea for teaching compassion to our children and guiding them away from violent means to problem-solving at an early age. Another audience member asked "what does it mean to present a wide-range of opinions, of aspects to a collective psyche?" Jeanmarie talked about how in high schools, in some cases, that kids changed their minds about joining the military after seeing the play; I commented that the intention behind presenting a mosaic, not a political polemic, was to create compassion for all of our humanity and make it difficult to "other" (ie, internalize one's own violent feelings) toward another group---a group which, in this case, suffers abuse and is under-voiced. The longer view of peace-making that this project takes is one of understanding across differences, across cultures and healing through story-telling and truth-telling.

Here is what some folks said when asked, on-line and after the show, what they thought:

"The play is surely an honest warning to young people. It is kind of like SCARED STRAIGHT which told people the horrors of being imprisoned. I am sure it has a very practical value as has been demonstrated in the visits to schools. But there is a second shoe, the devastation caused by our endless military interventions. Perhaps that should be the sequel. As for our troops who are in effect slaves, I would only want the best treatment. In my view, this should also be the case for prostitutes and prisoners.

Our veterans are the vanguard of the peace movement. No one has made a greater indictment of our slaughter than the troops

"I did not like the play at all. . . it wasn’t anti-war enough for me. The one part of the play that I do think would be good for girls and young women to see was the part about one in three women in the military being raped and three out of four being sexually abused. Other than that, the play does not work for me as an anti-war peace activist. It might work for people who are not part of the anti-war peace movement."

" I didn't see the play as a counter-recruitment tool, but more as a means for motivating young women to work toward better treatment of women and gays in the military. The stories used, for me, were far too introspective and self-absorbed; I was honestly shocked at the lack of empathy for the civilians of the countries we've invaded. I couldn't muster up much sympathy for a woman who didn't get to kiss her partner good-bye, when she was willingly going into a situation where she might be killing innocent civilians, or at the very least, terrorizing them simply by being there!  If there was talk of "conscience" or worry about the innocents I may have felt differently.

I can't see a soldier in uniform without wondering if he or she had hurt or killed or terrified an innocent civilian in Afghanistan or Iraq.  I think of the fear "No More Victims" kids must feel when they see a US Army uniform or hear the sounds of our weapons, and it makes it very difficult for me to listen from anything other than the civilians' perspective."

"We are the ones doing the invading. We are the ones killing and torturing civilians, and tearing entire countries to pieces. They are the terrorized ones, not us. The identity politics of economic conscripts are unpersuasive in this context. Not many Iraqis can afford college, but I don't think that gives them the right to invade America and kill Americans for tuition money.

The play does expose the imperial narcissism that afflicts the United States. . . but I can't really empathize with a soldier before she departs on imperial errands. The stats from Iraq are appalling: around a million dead, more maimed and wounded, millions of orphans, 4.5 million living the miserable lives of refugees, decades of development intentionally destroyed by powerful and indiscriminate munitions, an entire generation poisoned by depleted uranium and reduced to penury. The cultural inheritance of 7,000 years scattered to the winds in the cradle of civilization. And in the midst of this, Americans are whining hysterically about an Islamic YMCA being built two blocks from "Our Hallowed Ground." This display of narcissism is about as convincing an indictment of Americans and imperial culture as one could imagine. The play certainly exposes aspects of this imperial narcissism, an important contribution to our understanding, but most students are unlikely to perceive it.

A strong piece by a woman who witnessed and participated in the killing of civilians would strengthen the piece enormously.  We need that perspective as well."

"It is with no regret whatsoever that I cannot provide you with a killing followed by remorse story. I was in Uzbekistan two months after the attacks on 9/11, which were brought to our front door step, so to speak.  We were attacked, and the Taliban was more than happy to claim ownership of it (whether or not they did). Our presence in Uzbekistan meant a huge boost for their local economy, and the people I spoke with were not displeased with our military presence as just south of their border the Taliban had been subjugating women, minorities and any number of others who dared disagree with them.  The story was much the same in Iraq. . .  The people cheered us on from the sides of the roads as we convoyed through to destroy the military encampments just miles away. This was quite the shock to me.  I learned a new compassion for a people who were so terrorized by their own government that they welcomed foreigners who greeted them at the point of a gun.

Having believed in our cause when we invaded I soon found myself subject to the political musings of men and women who will do anything to get themselves more political pull. . .  Nine years and we are still occupying, still dying, still terrorizing. I say "we" because it is the soldiers who receive the ill will for occupying countries where we do not wish to be. I know of very few of my fellow soldiers who want to go back for their third, fourth, fifth tours. "We" are tired of the fighting. "We" want this insidious war over probably far more than the peace activists. They have statistics to cite, we have countless friends who have lost their lives for this political cause. "We" have returned permanently crippled, both physically and emotionally.    

I sincerely hope that CIH is not merely to dissuade women from joining the military. . .I love your project so much because it gives a voice to a group of people who are not generally heard.  I want a voice. I want voices for my sisters. I want to be included in the discourses of history."

"We are trying to open up our net of compassion and understand other points of view in order to appreciate the reasons that such huge numbers join the military. When surrounded by war wounded vets, were I to approach them as demons who have learned - too late - the error of their ways, it would only deepen their feelings of guilt and self-reproach. I appreciate vets coming forward and telling their stories. I learn from all of the points of view."