“Letters Home” a tribute to veterans in Galvin

Cameron Harms plays a soldier in "Letters from Home." Photo courtesy of SAU Galvin promotions.
Cameron Harms plays a soldier in “Letters from Home.” Photo courtesy of SAU Galvin promotions.

The Galvin Fine Arts Center will bring its last show of this season’s “Performing Artist Series” to St. Ambrose on Sat., Mar. 23.

From the Griffin Theatre Company in Chicago comes “Letters Home,” a show that gives us a look into the current war in the Middle East from a view the media rarely takes time to share with us.

Eileen Eitrheim, director of marketing for Galvin, said part of the reason they chose the show was that it does not advocate for or against the current war.

“It’s a very poignant piece,” Eitrheim said. “It really gets us to look at the human side of being deployed.”

And it does so through the use of letters written by soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a few letters written by family members back home, which the actors deliver through monologues. Eitrheim said the “Performing Artist Series” has not brought in a monologue-based piece like this before.

“We always try to include some element of education with what we bring in,” Eitrheim said. “We’re excited for theatre students to have an opportunity to learn from these actors.”

Bringing theatrical pieces and shows to Galvin is not often an easy task. Eitrheim said it usually requires plenty of set up and rehearsal time several days in advance. The longer the load-in time the higher the costs to bring a production in, and the longer that Allaert Auditorium is shut down as a rehearsal space for the theatre department.

But the monologue nature of “Letters Home” fortunately requires minimal set issues and a shorter load-in period.

“It uses a lot of projection,” Eitrheim said. “And the set is mostly stools for the actors.”

The idea for the play started with a New York Times op-ed piece that published war letters such as these. In 2004, they were turned into an HBO documentary titled, “Last Letters Home.”

From there, it was adapted to the stage and used supplementary content from several books written by Frank Schaeffer, including “Voices from the Front.”

And better yet, the show is appropriate for audience members of all ages.

“It’s this incredible story-telling experience,” Eitrheim said. “And it’s a way to stop, reflect, and say thank you.”

The performance will begin on Mar. 23 at 7:30 p.m. A talkback session open will be held in Allaert Auditorium directly after the show for anyone interested. Tickets may be purchase online at http://www.sau.edu/galvin, or through the Galvin Fine Arts Box Office, 563-333-6251.

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