The University of SC Department of Theatre and Dance will present A Piece of My Heart, Shirley Lauro’s riveting drama depicting the experiences of servicewomen during the Vietnam War, March 1-4 at the Lab Theatre.
Show times are 8pm nightly. Tickets for the production are $10, and available online at theatre.sc.edu or at the door. The Lab Theatre is located at 1400 Wheat St., on the first floor of the Booker T. Washington building. A Piece of My Heartcontains adult content and is not appropriate for children.
Called “the most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation,” A Piece of My Heart is a deeply affecting portrayal of the wartime service of six female veterans. With unflinching honesty, the women recount heartrending stories from their tours of duty, struggling to make sense of a war that irrevocably changed them and a nation that turned against them. “There have been a number of plays dealing with Vietnam…but none with the direct, emotional impact of Ms. Lauro’s work…a disturbing drama that evokes empathy for survivors as victims” — The New York Times.
“This is true storytelling theatre,” says director David Britt, a senior instructor in the theatre program. “The stories in the play are so detailed, and describe things so specifically, that you’re given everything you need to see, hear and smell the experiences of these servicewomen.”
Britt says the intimacy of the Lab Theatre, a 100-seat “black box” performance space, is perfectly suited to the production’s goal of creating a highly personal audience experience. “The audience will be really pulled into this play,” says Britt. “One thing you’ll definitely notice is that when a character is telling her story, she’ll be making eye contact with the audience members, and in some cases, the audience will be like characters in the play themselves.”
Cast as the servicewomen are undergraduate students Kayla Crumbly, Sarah Fabrizio, Kelsey McCloskey, Jordan Postal, Rosa Ramirez, and Cameron Shaw. Typically, one male actor is cast to portray 21 different characters in various reenactments of the women’s stories; however, Britt has cast several actors to embody those characters. Performing the male roles are undergraduates Jaxen Coleman, Charlie Eaton, David Neil Edwards, Nicholas Good, Alex Long, Logan Ingram, and Alexander Robinson. The production’s design is being created by Senior Instructor Andy Mills and undergraduate student Curtis Smoak (scenic design), graduate design students Allison Newcombe (lighting design) andMolly Morgan (costume design), and undergraduate student Drake Dial (sound design).
“It’s a very moving play about the women who took care of our soldiers and served their country,” says Britt. “The message is survival and healing. There hasn’t been a rehearsal yet where we haven’t been moved and had to collect ourselves at the end.”