American Joe: examining the personal impact of war
Last week, I spoke on a panel following a preview performance of Liza Raynal’s “American Joe" at the Marsh theater in San Francisco. In this one-woman show, Liza shares her and her family’s struggles with her brother’s decision to join the Army. The show is entertaining and thought-provoking and reveals the contradicting emotions surrounding opposing our government’s agenda while recognizing US troops as human beings.
In the discussion afterward, there were many veterans and family members of soldiers who related deeply with the conflict played out on the stage. The director David Ford, Liza, two representatives of Veterans for Peace and I discussed the themes of the show with the audience and provided some guidance for how people could channel their feelings about the war. As we continue what seems like an endless struggle in our activist work, I feel like getting in touch with the visceral emotions related to the toll of the war is so important, and Liza’s show gives an eye-opening look at the impact of war on American families.
Liza’s brother is deploying to Afghanistan shortly, and she mentioned that at this point she is through arguing the politics of the decision her brother has made and is more interested in keeping him safe. She is raising money to buy proper boots and socks for her brother’s platoon.
The show is playing at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco until August 15th. The July 10th performance will feature another panel with a representative of Peace Action West. I highly recommend checking it out.