June 10th, 2009 | by Heather Morse News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

The Telling Project Is Well Worth a Listen

Cast of Telling Portland

The last time I heard a war story it came from my Grandfather. He is kind of a "uphill to school both ways" kind of story teller, so it was easy to assume some of the gory details had been inflated. The Telling Project, a play performed by eight veterans, made me wish I had listened more to him—and maybe asked a few more questions of the other veterans in my life.

The play, performed at PSU last night, follows the stories of the eight actors from enlisting in the military to combat to the difficulties of re-integrating into civilized society. The seemingly simple concept works to bridge the gap between two very distinct groups of people : those who have been to war, and those who haven't.

The stories are raw, honest, and even humorous like when Brian Friend confessed he had hid an injury from his family, so as not to worry them. His mother found a photo online of him being awarded a purple heart while deployed—and promptly told him he would be grounded when he returned.

Other stories were not so comical - Joe Martin Cantrell spoke of an accidental collision his Naval vessel had with innocent Vietnamese and his co-worker's callous response. Arturo Franco admits his treatment of POWs still haunts him today. Jeremiah Washburn still holds a grudge against his middle-eastern neighbors, each day seeing his daughter's classmates as the same people who took the lives of five "brothers."

The project, originally produced in Eugene, is working to expand the show to other communities, hoping ultimately to help ease the difficulties Veterans have readjusting to civilian life. Although no other performances are currently scheduled, links to sponsors and requests for shows can be found on the project's website.
 
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