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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: 'ReEntry' an unflinching look at Marines returning from combat

  • First performance is Nov. 9 at Empire Theater in Grand Forks.
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  •     Crookston’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee wants to let Crookston and area residents know that the Fargo VA Health Care System and Theatre B, with license from Playscripts, Inc, is hosting a regional tour of Emily Ackerman and KJ Sanchez’s “ReEntry.”
       An unflinching look at the lives of Marines getting ready for and returning from combat, ReEntry is a docudrama exploration of the relationships between Marines and the civilians they fight for overseas and must contend with when they return home. Honest, moving, and surprisingly funny, this play is based entirely on interviews with Marines and their families.
        How do you go from battlefields to backyard barbecues? What is the price paid by families at home when husbands, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters go to war? This surprising new play gives troops a voice as it puts aside politics and takes you into their world.
        Performances will take place in several cities across the region:
        • Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Empire Theater, Grand Forks
        • Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, Fargo
        • Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Bismarck State College Sidney J. Lee Auditorium
        • Tuesday, Nov. 20 at noon and 3 p.m. at the Fargo VA Health Care System, 2101 N. Elm, Fargo, ND
        All performances will be free and open to the public. 
        Clinical staff from the Fargo VA Health Care System and North Dakota Military Service Center will be providing discussion groups after the performances.
        The University of North Dakota Social Work Services Department, Bismarck State College Theatre Department, North Dakota Military Service Center, Empire Theater, and American Legion have all contributed to this event.
        Directed by Theatre B Ensemble Member Brad Delzer, ReEntry will feature a cast including Theatre B Ensemble Members Emily Clemenson and Mary Cochran, former Army Sergeant Keith Huff, as well Taylor Schatz, Jay Olson and Monika Browne.
        Former Army Sergeant Keith Huff learned about the project from a professor and realized that he has firsthand knowledge about what it is like to try to return home from a combat zone.             
    “I’ve never been on stage before, but I thought my experiences and passion for the subject could make me a good fit,” Huff said. “It’s important for me to help tell the story that, yes, it is hard to come home, but don’t count us out yet, someday we will become the greatest generation.”
    Page 2 of 2 -     The performances are a collaboration between Fargo based Theatre B and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
        “Reentry is a great way to increase awareness about Veterans issues,” said Fargo VA Health Care System Caregiver Support Coordinator Kathrine Smith. “Co-worker Deb Kunkel and I saw ReEntry at a conference about a year ago. We looked at each other and said ‘we have to bring this to Fargo.’ When I saw it I recognized so many of the same struggles that Veterans and their families face when they return to their homes in North Dakota and Minnesota. We hear the same stories that are presented in ReEntry at the VA Health Care System every day.
        “By partnering with Theatre B, we hope to reach Veterans and their families to help show that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is help out there,” Smith continued. “We also want to get the general population involved in the conversation. To read an article about veterans with PTSD is one thing, but to see it acted out on a stage has a far greater impact.”
        For more information, visit theatreb.org and fargo.va.gov.

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