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September 27, 2013

Review: "Soldiers Heart" - One Marine's Homecoming from Iraq at Pgh Playhouse

I was fortunate Thursday evening to to have purchased two tickets to see "Soldiers Heart" by The REP Professional Theater Company, at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland. The play will be shown from Friday Sept 27 through Sunday October 13.

It was a remarkable play and an amazing performance by the cast. The plot talks about a young Marine, a single mother, who deploys to Iraq and comes home a very different person. The play deals with her stateside experience and how she comes to term with what she did, what she saw, and what was done to her when deployed.

It's a riveting story told with remarkable skill; never preachy or forced, not dramatic or agenda-bound but rather the very human story of one woman's experience both "over there" and "back here".

Soldiers Heart is written by a Pittsburgh playwright, Tammy Ryan, and most (if not all) of the actors in this presentation are Pittsburgh's own.

The cast was wonderful, to the extent that I'm amazed at what they did. It seemed a physically demanding performance and there were no low spots.

The staging in the relatively small theater was intimate and effective, and there's a bit of technology in the play - some Skype and video segments, and that's all extremely well done as are some audio effects.

The play is an examination of what we've sent some of our young people out to do in our names, and also how some aspects of our own culture play out in the desert and back at home.

The play is so tight, there just aren't any lulls, indulgences or moments of low energy - this play works hard. It's a thoroughly engaging experience that touches on both VietNam and Fallujah.

In a country that barely acknowledges the wars that we're engaged in, a play that examines the human after-effects of warmaking makes a valuable contribution. Soldiers Heart is highly recommended.

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