By Charles Logan
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College drama department is well known for its enthusiasm as well as its creativity. For this fall’s production, “War Stories,” director Dale Daigle is taking a completely original performance from real life stories.
“‘War Stories’ is a collection of stories, all true, that deal with the new millennium wars, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Daigle said. “The stories are taken from several sources but the primary one is a book called ‘Operation Homecoming.’”
“Operation Homecoming” is the result of a program launched by the National Endowment for the Arts which is encouraging military servicemen and women, as well as their families to write stories about their experiences with war in the 21st century.
Daigle began working on the play last winter and while he is the director of the performance, he credits the help of faculty and students with the development and success of the project.
“This performance is in every way a collaboration,” Daigle said. “The cast and crew have been instrumental in choosing, developing, and scripting the performance you will see.”
Junior Phaedra Scott, the stage manager of the production is very excited to be working on the project.
“We have all grown up in a time where the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been a part of our lives,” Scott said. “‘War Stories’ is a way to present the many sides of the war, some that we know, and some that we don’t.”
The stage manager is the person responsible for organizing and coordinating a play or musical so that everything can run smoothly and certain tasks are completed on time. “For the show, I will be up in the booth calling cues which is telling the lights and sound what is coming up next and the exact moment it should happen,” Scott said.
“This is a fairly elaborate set,” Daigle said. On the stage of Decker Theatre is a three floor scaffold set complete with ramps and stairs that is going to bring the acting to life. “Watching the actors perform on this really makes me feel like I am in war with the characters,” he said.
The characters are portrayed by WC student actors who endeavor to convey the complex emotions war, and “War Stories,” is meant to evoke.
“I have been very fortunate to be able to work with this extraordinary group of students,” Daigle said. “Together we have wrestled with some very difficult issues, emotions, and ideas and all have learned a great deal. In the end I am pretty sure I have learned at least as much from them as they have from me.”
“Working on this performance has been a fantastic experience for me,” freshman Alex Foxwell said.
Foxwell is one of the actors for “War Stories.” He will be playing many different characters as the play changes stories. “It has definitely been an emotional time for most of us because these stories are so profound and in the end you have to remember that these stories are true,” Foxwell said.
Daigle has directed over 25 plays around the world including places like Scotland, Samoa, Hawaii, and Los Angeles. War Stories is a performance that you don’t want to miss.
“War is a messy, complicated endeavor,” Daigle said. “Their impacts and repercussions are ubiquitous and oftentimes greater then we imagine them, at first, to be. We hope these simple but powerful stories will help us all come to a deeper understanding of those impacts.”