Carthage professors premiere new play ‘Fighting For Home: Stories of Women Who Serve’
When Carthage professors Becki Hornung and Martin McClendon sat down for coffee at Starbucks four years ago and began thinking of ways to collaborate, they didn’t imagine their efforts would result in a world premiere on the Carthage stage. On Friday, Feb. 21, the Carthage Theatre Department will open “Fighting For Home: Stories of Women Who Serve” in the Wartburg Theatre, with Marcella Kearns, Carthage adjunct faculty member, directing.
The project isn’t too surprising, given the faculty member’s backgrounds. Prof. McClendon was interested in “verbatim” and “documentary” style theatre, and Prof. Hornung previously worked with veterans as a social worker and collaborated with theatre faculty at other institutions. Ms. Kearns just directed Anna Deveare-Smith’s “Fires In The Mirror” at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, where she is an artistic associate.
So when Prof. McClendon was granted a sabbatical in the spring of 2019 to create and write a new verbatim play about female veterans, he immediately reached out to Prof. Hornung. “I knew that having her expertise would really elevate my own research and work,” says Prof. McClendon. “And having her involved in the interview process was really key. She has so much knowledge in these areas. She’s able to ask questions and react to our participants on a higher level.”
After nine months of work and more than six weeks of rehearsal with Ms. Kearns, “Fighting For Home” is ready to premiere. The play is based on interviews with nine female veterans from the Gulf War to the present. In interviews with the two professors, the veterans generously shared their most personal stories and reflections about their service. Prof. McClendon transcribed and edited the material down to a two-act play that offers a glimpse into the military culture and the obstacles it can present to women who want to serve their country. From being a mom on deployment to dealing with exposure to toxic chemicals, from combat trauma to sexual harassment and assault; these nine women show their strength and resilience, succeeding and thriving despite these serious obstacles. Their powerful words reflect their past experiences but also their growth and flourishing in the present.
“I’m so blessed to be working both with Prof. Hornung and Ms. Kearns,” reflects Prof. McClendon. “Seeing our actors embody the roles of these amazing women has been so humbling.”
“Fighting For Home” opens on Friday, Feb. 21, and runs for two weekends. Seating is limited. To purchase tickets, please visit www.carthage.edu/tickets 24/7 or call the Fine Arts Box Office 262-551-6661 noon to 5 p.m Tuesday through Friday. This play contains content that may not be suitable for children.
Carthage students, faculty, and staff receive complimentary ticket(s) for this event. Please visit www.carthage.edu/fine-arts/box-office for ticket information and policies, or contact the Fine Arts Box Office with any additional questions. All complimentary ticket reservations must be redeemed in-person with a Carthage photo I.D. at the Box Office. Email or phone reservations will not be accepted.
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