Collateral Damage

“There’s only three things the guys let you be if you’re a girl in the military—a bitch, a ho or a dyke. You can’t win.”

So says one of the real-life women depicted in The Lonely Soldier Project. Subtitled “a nonfiction play,” it’s based on verbatim testimony of female soldiers describing their experiences of sexual harassment, discrimination and violence while serving Uncle Sam at home and overseas. The piece is drawn from interviews and emails collected by journalist Helen Benedict, whose work inspired the 2012 documentary The Invisible War and a class-action lawsuit against the Pentagon.

The production this Veterans Day weekend is a collaboration among dramaturg Talya Kingston, physical theater artist Troy David Mercier and actor/director Robyn Spateholts. Critical of “the sort of passive witnessing of victimhood” seen in some documentary theater,” Kingston says they wanted to “embody these stories and jump-start a conversation [by] implicating the audience in the action and physicalizing the stories.”

Nov. 8-9, 6 and 8 p.m., First Churches, 129 Main St., Northampton. Free (donations accepted for the women’s program of Soldier On), seating limited. Disturbing content; children will not be admitted.

Author: Chris Rohmann

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