Local veterans express emotions about war through Shakespeare
Veterans at the Louisville Vets Center say they can relate to Shakespeare because his plays are mostly about war.
Veterans at the Louisville Vets Center say they can relate to Shakespeare, because his plays are mostly about war.
“We're not professional actors by any stretch of the imagination," said Rob Givens, United States Air Force veteran. "We do gain a lot from being able to talk to each other about our experiences."
They may not be professional actors, but this band of brothers and sisters are acting out pieces from three of Shakespeare's plays.
“We're going to show pieces from three plays that they have responded to and have helped me select and arrange,” said Kentucky Shakespeare Associate Artistic Director Amy Attaway.
"We are going to show a little bit of the Winter's Tale, a little bit of Hamlet and a little bit of Henry the Fifth. Several of them have said ‘this is my weekly therapy, or this is two hours where I feel calm, or this is two hours where I don't have to think about anything else,’ which is amazing,” she said.
Local vets say they're learning they're not alone.
“There's comfort there in the familiarity of our experiences,” said Indiana National Guard Staff Sergeant Deborah Sawyer.
They're learning there are veterans here in Louisville who share similar experiences, and they're learning people even hundreds of years ago shared similar experiences.
“You can go back to when Shakespeare wrote plays and some of the same issues that veterans deal with today, in dealing with each other and dealing with their families and dealing with the general population and vice versa, are also representative in Shakespeare's plays,” Givens said.
Some veterans say when they return from deployment, they may find it difficult to relate back into mainstream society.
“I look forward to Thursday nights," Staff Sgt. Sawyer said. "It's the best group of people, because I can come here and say something kind of off-the-cuff, and they know where it's coming from."
“I'm going to cry. I feel so honored that they let me be a part of their circle, and they listen to what I have to say and are interested in Shakespeare,” Attaway said.
The veteran’s Shakespeare in the Park performance is on July 17 at 7 p.m. in Central Park.
If you'd like to attend the event or more information, click here.
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