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‘Soldier’s Heart’ Tells of a Bitter Reality

“This play is an intimate and disturbing examination of what many veterans face on returning home and the particular challenge too often confronting female service members.” — Scott Mackenzie.

“Soldier’s Heart” is the story of Casey Johnson as she attempts to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by combat and sexual assault suffered while serving in Iraq. Alma College Theatre’s production strives to shed light on and raise the hard questions regarding both of these issues.

Performance times for Tammy Ryan’s “Soldier’s Heart” are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 in the Remick Heritage Center Dance Studio.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for seniors 62 and up, and free for Alma College staff, students and youth 18 and under. Seating is reserved. Call (989) 463-7304 for ticket information.

“This play is an intimate and disturbing examination of what many veterans face on returning home and the particular challenge too often confronting female service members,” says Theatre Director Scott Mackenzie. “Because this play is meant to be intimate, we decided to stage it in the smaller confines of our dance studio with the goal of bringing the audience right into Casey’s world.”

It was over a year ago when Mackenzie chose this play for production. Since then, sexual assault and harassment in business and politics has more frequently plagued news headlines nationwide.

“Military sexual trauma has been in the headlines for several years now, and I think people have often blamed how badly many women were treated on military culture,” says Mackenzie, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve. “However, we now know that the problem is much broader.”

Mackenzie and cast members hope to take “Soldier’s Heart” to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in January 2019. Working to make that possible are a full cast and its understudies.

“Soldier’s Heart” student actors and understudies include:

  • Merek Alam, Davison sophomore
  • Tyra Briscoe, Farmington Hills first-year student
  • Jarrett Buikema, Rochester Hills first-year student
  • Daniel Chalice, Fennville first-year student
  • Asiel Clark, Lincoln Park sophomore
  • Cosette Coston, Tiverton, R. I., sophomore
  • James Ewald, Flushing junior
  • Maxwell Flagler, Spring Lake senior
  • Kailen Roop, East Leroy first-year student
  • Kayla Schmitz, Breckenridge first-year student
  • Star Stevens, West Branch sophomore
  • Samuel Wood, Essexville first-year student
Story published on January 24, 2018