Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Dramatic Readings Connect Veterans
On January 29, Veterans of various residential rehabilitation treatment programs experienced Hollywood actor David Strathairn deliver a dramatic reading of An Iliad. Strathairn is known for his roles in The Bourne Ultimatum and Lincoln.
Presented by Outside the Wire, and written by actor Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson as a retelling of Homer’s epic, An Iliad uses informal and contemporary language to present the classic Trojan War story in a modern world. Following the reading, a panel of Veterans and VA health care professionals discussed what the reading meant, on an individual level. Later, audience members shared their thoughts.
One Veteran commented, “The reading brings out emotional reactions in us, reactions that some people – like me – want to bury.”
Debra Boyd, a VA psychologist expressed the challenges Veterans face returning home, and how the An Iliad reading captured the timelessness of that phenomenon, “Many Veterans feel like, ‘How can I make you understand what I went through? Are you going to get me?’”
The An Iliad event launches the start of a series of weekly readings and conversations that Outside the Wire, a social impact company that uses theater to address pressing public health and social issues, will host for Veterans and staff at the Coatesville VA Medical Center. The innovative program uses the power of stories and metaphors to engender empathy, humility and understanding in diverse audiences.
The unique, weeks-long program is being offered as a complimentary activity to individual, group and other therapies provided to Veterans through residential rehabilitation treatment programs. In, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Outside the Wire hosted similar one-time performances for Veterans and staff at the Coatesville VA Medical Center.