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Military affairs beat: Play takes raw look at war's effects

  • Article by: Mark Brunswick
  • Star Tribune
  • November 29, 2011 - 10:53 PM

It may not exactly qualify as holiday fare, but a production of a play from North Hennepin Community College Theatre has a different sort of timeliness. The Midwest premiere of "The Wolf" is intended to take an unflinching look at returning Iraq war vets who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Playwright Sean Huze, served two tours in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Marines and suffers from PTSD himself. He was an actor and writer before enlisting the day after 9/11 and has appeared in films that include "Green Zone" and "In the Valley of Elah." He will be part of panel discussion that will include other vets and a Catholic priest.

Directed by Mike Ricci, a member of the theater faculty at North Hennepin, the play follows two Iraq vets who have been charged with crimes while deployed. One, Joey, has been charged with killing Iraqi civilians. The other, Kelly, is accused of killing a fellow Marine after she was sexually assaulted.

Ricci said he became aware of the play four years ago while teaching in Hibbing and noticed issues related to some veterans in his classes, including feelings of isolation and guilt.

The panel discussion after Wednesday's performance is scheduled to include a Veterans Affairs clinician who works with PTSD. Ricci has spoken with several veterans centers about providing brochures, books, websites and other information about counseling programs and support. But Ricci said not everyone has been on board. He invited members of the military to participate and has even given them the script to read, but has been rebuffed.

"All of them, to a person, say, 'I agree that there are people out there with PTSD and some percentage with problems but that is not the military that we advertise.' In a way they don't want to acknowledge that there are these problems."

Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m., with the panel discussion afterward; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the college's Fine Arts Center Theatre. Tickets are available online at nhcc.edu/events.

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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