(L-R) Beverly Allen, Beverly Allen (playwright) and Craig Fox on their wedding day | Photos & poster courtesy of Ellipse Theatre Community)
This November, Ellipse Theatre Community (ETC) will present the PTSD Awareness Project, a multi-faceted program intended to promote community understanding of the effects of war on military personnel, families and communities.
The centerpiece and culmination of this project will be the world premiere of Craig Fox Had a Wife, an autobiographical new play by local playwright Beverly Allen, whose first husband served and was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Based upon a true story, the play recounts her story of how a veteran, a widow and a Vietnamese tour guide found healing decades after the war.
Allen’s play will perform at Open Space Event Studios in Bend. Additional planned activities and events include panel discussions with educators, mental health professionals and veterans, pre and post-show talk-backs, an art exhibit titled Layers of War featuring work from veteran artists, as well as War Stories: Personal Retrospectives – a story-telling session with veterans as part of ETC’s ongoing Listening Project initiative.
“This is a story of healing,” says Allen. “I am grateful to ETC for weaving my play into a larger project’s mission to bring peace to many veterans, who often begin a new fight once they return from their service.” Allen’s play has received tremendous support from the Central Oregon community over the years through development workshops and staged readings at Silent Echo Theatre Company, 2nd Street Theatre and more. It has also received generous support from veterans throughout the nation. For the premiere production, a fundraiser was organized by the 116th Hornet division who served alongside Craig. They set a goal to raise $8,000.00 which was surpassed within days. Many have plans to travel to Central Oregon to witness Allen’s play and to take part in the planned events.
Debbie Levin serves as the director for Allen’s play. While the play spans a time during and after the Vietnam War, Levin believes the core themes and issues depicted in Allen’s play are relevant today. “So many veterans of all military backgrounds suffer from PTSD,” says Levin. “Our hope is that through these and other community engagement activities around PTSD, we will promote a deeper awareness and understanding of the effects of war and the many faces of PTSD.”
The production and overall program is made possible in part by generous support and funding from Coffman Vision Clinic, Bend Furniture and Design, Oregon Cultural Trust, St. Charles Foundation, the Braemar Foundation and IBM. Cast members include Sherie Neff, Nicole Silbaugh, Mark Baron, Rob Flanagan, Levon Alldredge, Ray Abanto, Megan Flanagan, Aaron Rasheed, Joshua Billeter, Eddie Lampe and Barbara Rich. The creative team includes lighting and projection design by Eric Denzler, set design by Mark McConnell, costuming by Wilma Keller and sound design by Barbara Rich.
If you go:
The Ellipse Theatre Community production of Craig Fox Had A Wife, directed by Debbie Levin will perform on select dates from November 11-19. General admission tickets are $25 with ten percent discounts available for seniors and military.
For tickets and a detailed calendar of events, please visit etcbend.org/ptsdawarenessproject.