by Artistic Associate Karen Moeller
In the weeks leading up to the first day of rehearsals for Learning to Stay, I did as much research as I could to familiarize myself with the issues the play contains. I watched many videos of veterans with PTSD, and, more importantly for one of the roles I'll be playing, I watched countless videos of wives of veterans with PTSD. I read a large number of articles, and visited site after site on the internet. But when all was said and done, I think the most important research I did was to spend time with the words of the novel, and of the script, thinking about the hearts of the characters I would be playing.
Beneath the issues and the scars they bear (emotional and/or physical), this play is filled with people who are struggling to love, to live, to find peace with themselves and with others. They are all doing the best they can.
And that's something we can all relate to, regardless of our level of experience with the military. Erin Celello, in her book, and Jim DeVita in his stage adaptation, have created such amazing characters, and I am looking forward to the wonderful challenge and opportunity of bringing some of them to life on the stage.