Sunday, September 29, 2019

"Breakfast in Baghdad"

Vet Voices was launched in 2017 by Scott A. Cook for military veterans, giving them a chance to tell their stories in a theater setting. It is part of the highly successful community outreach program called TheatreCares. Scott stumbled across the idea when he Googles Arts + Military and he found out that arts and health for veterans is a growing national movement. The program was launched when they got a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. What followed was an astounding experience as 10 veterans who knew nothing about creative writing began  developing a play based entirely of their experiences in the military. Over the course of 10 months the vets grew as a team building their self confidence as they uncovered and relayed the stories that were  once only distant and hidden memories.

This sketch was done at their first performance back  in 2018. This production entirely written and performed buy the vets was called Breakfast in Bagdad directed by Mark S. Graham. The theater was a safe space for healing and the raw emotions bubbled to the surface mixed with humor and humanity. A simple American flag acted as the backdrop for the performers. A military doctor was overwhelmed by the carnage he faced when he was dropped into battle. An injured vet recounted with humor his decision to talk to a military recruiter. A woman relived the danger of being in a mans army. Every vet also had the common experience of trying to adjust to life after war and hoping to achieve some degree of normalcy. Bob Skillman spoke about the importance of the 4th of July for him and his family.

The 2019-20 sessions will now focus on music and theatre, whether it be singing, song writing, playing an instrument or just being behind the scenes to produce the Final Presentation in June of 2020. TheatreWorks Florida announced that the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs has approved an NEA Partnership Grant in the amount of $10,000 to continue the company's highly acclaimed community outreach branch. Recruitment for the Vet Voices 2019-20 program is already in progress until Oct 10, 2019. The program does have a participant cutoff so sign up early. For more information and to register for the program, please visit TheatreWorks Florida's website at or contact Abel Gonzales, TWF Company Manager, at: | 407.340.0473.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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