What does ‘Thank you for your service’ really mean?

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Live theater is a tool for change, empathy, learning, understanding, connection, and more.

With that in mind, it is not surprising that a national group is using live theater to bridge the gap of understanding between ordinary Americans and veterans.

Specifically, at six cities across the country, the Atlantic Council has partnered with professional theater companies, veterans service organizations, and corporate sponsors to bring staged readings of War Words. This Pulitzer Prize-nominated play depicts stories of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

War Words, by Michelle Kholos Brooks, will come to Miami, Forth Worth, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles next week. The play previously took stages in New York and Syracuse.

The following is a quote from General (Ret.) David Petraeus, the council’s board director. “Few movies or plays have ever captured for me as powerfully as War Words…the experiences of American veterans, especially those who have served in uniform since 9/11.”

The piece’s basis is the playwright’s interviews with veterans and their families.

“This compelling entertainment serves the larger purpose of humanizing professional warriors by telling  their true stories in their own words,” Atlantic Council representatives said in a prepared statement. “The council hopes it will enlarge its audience’s affinity with veterans, and, in turn, its attention to the uses of the military as an instrument of American foreign policy.”

The next presentation, in Miami, will come just before Veterans Day, which is Thursday, Nov. 11. Specifically, the performance will take place at 8 p.m. ET in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Knight Concert Hall.

War Words humanizes and personalizes the population of professional warriors among us, including family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers,” City Theatre opined in a prepared statement. The Atlantic Council commissioned the script.”

Within the script are “funny, strange, heroic, and heartbreaking stories of the men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan,” City Theatre representatives continued. The stories give voice to a “powerful play about warriors deployed far away, those we brought home, and those we left behind…this timely, exciting, and enlightening work reveals to the public what ‘thank you for your service’ really means.

In Miami, tickets for the general public are $15 at www.arshtcenter.org, or by calling (305) 949-6722. Meanwhile, tickets for active military and veterans are free and available at www.Vettix.org. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is located at 1300 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.

Miami’s City Theatre (www.citytheatre.com) is an award-winning professional theater company founded in Miami in 1996. It is among the oldest cultural organizations in the region. And it is the only theater in the nation producing 10-minute plays and musicals year-round and for all ages.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic Council (www.atlanticcouncil.org) is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization. It galvanizes U.S. leadership and engagement in the world to shape solutions to global challenges. IT does this together with allies and partners.

Following the Miami performance, here is where War Words will head.

  • In Fort Worth, the performance will take place at Stage West Theatre, https://stagewest.org at 6:30 p.m. CT. Stage West will perform the piece.
  • In Philadelphia, the InterAct Theatre Company (http://www.interacttheatre.org) will perform War Words at 7:30 p.m. ET at FringeArts.
  • In Los Angeles, NewYorkRep West (newyorkrep.org) will perform War Words at 7:30 p.m. PT at Actors’ Gang Theatre.
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