“The challenge of going from military service to civilian life is like going from black and white to full color,” according to Jenny Pacanowski at Open Mic at the Dietrich Theater on Memorial Day weekend when Warrior Writers was the special feature. “Moving from a life following orders to a life making multiple decisions is truly challenging.”
That is why Warrior Writers, a program for military veterans with workshops at the Dietrich every second Friday of the month, can help meet that challenge. Warrior Writers is a space of compassion and non-judgment, a place to use writing to tell your story with others who have shared the military experience. Due to Highmark’s sponsorship, participation in Warrior Writers is free.
One male veteran and three female veterans read their stories at Open Mic — stories of challenges for female vets, such as going to the VA as a female, and stories of loss, not only for vets but for everyone. Open Mic was truly a tribute to veterans who have served and a plea for understanding and help for those who return from duty with loss of self, succumbing to suicide, drug overdose, homelessness or other problems.
“Coming to listen to our readings has great value to us,” ended Jenny. She thanked Highmark for recognizing the healing power of Warrior Writers.
So what is coming up at the Dietrich? First of all, National Theatre Live is back with a new production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” with two opportunities to see it at 2 p.m. on Sundays, June 10 and 17. In this production, the play is set in a barbaric world afflicted by civil war, a change from setting it in Shakespeare’s time. According to “The Guardian,” Anne-Marie Duff who plays Lady Macbeth “lives vividly in the moment, reacting with palpable shock to the sight of the incriminating daggers and capturing the pathos of the character’s growing exclusion from her husband’s tyrannical world.” Tickets are available online or at the door.
The Golden Days of Radio Players Performance includes a play from the series “Father Knows Best” and a play from the crime series “Big Town” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12. Thirteen volunteer actors will be onstage again in period costume, helping the audience get into the time in which the plays were written and performed.
Esther Harmatz, director and sound engineer, is a performer in her own right, using real objects to knock at the door, ring a doorbell, slam a door, etc. The barbershop group Vocal Accord will be the pre-show feature, providing the perfect music to get you in the mood for the plays that follow. Free tickets are available at the door and a light reception to meet the actors will follow the show.
Remember the movie “Grease” with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John? It is the June Dietrich Free Film Favorite to be shown at 1 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 13. If you don’t remember it, you need to see it to experience a slice of life in the 1950s. Just show up or pick up a free ticket at the ticket booth.
So many special opportunities coming up at the Dietrich Theater this June. Which ones are on your calendar? A Shakespeare play from London? An old-fashioned radio play performance? A classic musical about teenage life? Or perhaps a blockbuster movie in one of our four theaters that are open 365 days of the year? We hope we will see you soon. And often!
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