This weekend I attended Spotlight Theatre’s highly moving production of A PIECE OF MY HEART. The play is told in flashback, 6 women- four nurses, an intelligence officer and an entertainer share their personal remembrances creating an intense ,dramatic experience.
Most of the scenes take place on the floor as we the audience are seated surrounding the actors which immediately draws us into their anguish of dealing with their experiences during the Vietnam War.
Even as the actors leave and re-enter the performance in completely different roles they continue to be convincing and believable. We are swept up in the chaos of the war along with them. We feel we are in the middle of it rather then observing from a distance.
Under the direction of Thomas-Robert Irvin the cast of 6 women and 1 man do an amazing job of keeping their intensity at a high level throughout the performance.
Martha (Cindy Nagle Walton) just wants to serve the country she loves and does her best to keep a stiff upper lip. Whitney (Nancy Bennett) realizes that her time in Southeast Asia will not fulfill her expectations of a glamorous adventure. Sissy(Cecile Macphee ) learns that saving the world is not as easy as she thought it would be. LeeAnn (Sue Alba) is the most reluctant to go, having been hoodwinked into signing up. Steele (Dani Kennedy) has vital information that she knows will save lives but she cannot get any of the military’s upper brass to listen to her. MaryJo (Cathy Gibbons Mostek) heads to Vietnam with her guitar hoping her musical experience will be fulfilling. TimothyP. Oskin moves on and off, portraying a wide array of male supporting characters.
The stage in the final scene features a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C . Here the six women gather to find meaning and some degree of healing.
A number of Vietnam vets were in the audience. It was heartwarming to see them interacting with the cast, sharing intimate, reflective conversations after the performance. Military veterans are invited to attend the closing performance for free on Sunday November 10th.
A PIECE OF MY HEART
by Shirley Lauro
Directed by Thomas Robert Irvin
Nov 1-10, 2013
129 Park Avenue