Barton Theater will perform the Vietnam-era drama “A Piece of My Heart,” by Shirley Lauro, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 26 and 27 in the Fine Arts Auditorium.
The production focuses on the story of six women – five nurses and one musician – who are sent to Vietnam and how their experiences in a war-torn country impact their lives. The play is based on actual interviews and first-hand accounts of war-time events.
Theater Director Erin Renard said she chose this production to shed light on an often untold side of the Vietnam story.
“American women in the military, Red Cross and entertainment industry, witnessed gruesome violence, sexual abuse and were often the victim of scams by unethical promoters, recruiters and advertisements,” she said. “These young women often came home with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, but most women did not receive treatment for these psychological ailments.”
Barton sophomore Holly Mosier, who plays Martha O’Neil, a nurse who is sent to Vietnam, said the production helps viewers see the world from the perspective of someone before, during and after the war.
“You get to see the full story of these six women, and each one has their own story that they relive, and you kind of get to know these women through their monologues,” she said. “It’s kind of like a documentary on stage.”
Mosier said one of the themes of the play is the impact of war on a person, but more specifically, how they resume their post-deployment life, and the lasting effects that may linger.
“I think most people believe that when someone comes back from a war, that they are changed,” she said. “This production just goes a little more in-depth, and shows how wars can impact people on an individual level and elaborates on that.”
Given the serious nature of the subject matter, Renard said the play has challenged the cast, but they have handled it well.
“The acting talent this year is exceptional, and although it is the students’ first production of the year, they are approaching it on a professional level,” she said. “I hope students and community members alike will come witness these great performances and learn more about the brave and often overlooked American women of war.”
All seats are general admission. Tickets are available in the Fine Arts Office or at the door; students admitted free, non-students $7. The play is recommended for mature audiences due to language and intense war-time situations. The production will be presented with special permission by Samuel French Inc.