What's it about?
Veteran soldiers return home and begin to confront and overcome obstacles that have affected them during and after their tours.
What I experienced?
To be honest, I felt extremely uncomfortable. It hit too close to home for me. Whenever it comes to war, it seems like our only point of reference is the war on Afghanistan. Islam is always depicted as this evil religion, and when it comes to TV shows or movies, it’s the Muslims that are the extremists or “terrorists”. So, the second there’s some sort of Islam/Muslim reference paired with war, I’m reminded of how people used to see me after 9/11 and how we’re still being treated (with this Muslim Ban), and I’d just rather not.
Imani, the sister of a deceased Muslim soldier, makes this reference to Muslim perception that left me feeling disappointed at humanity and heart broken. She mentions why her brother enlisted in the marines, to prove that not all Muslims are bad and to support his country. And while this is great, it upsets me because I feel like there’s this underlying feeling of having to overcompensate because a small fraction of extremists are misrepresenting its people and their religion. That, and the fact that I grew up constantly feeling that way (and I’m positive I wasn’t the only Muslim that felt that way). Feeling like I had to overcompensate. That I had to know my place.
I used to wear the hijab and I remember the shift in perception. How people used to look at me with these disgusted, hatred filled stares, and I was just a kid. It breaks my heart to even recall that, even at such a young age, I understood that the world saw me as this monster I never was. So, I would overcompensate. I tried to be the best kid I could be. Good grades. Nice kid. A NORMAL kid. Nothing strange to see here. I felt the need to fight this perception, and I can say that I have that underlying feeling now. Hearing that from Imani was just a flashback to a time I didn’t… a time I don’t want to remember.
So I was uncomfortable, but that didn’t really change. Then, there were the references to rape. This whole concept of women being treated as trophies, unequal to men and apparently undeserving of justice because the reported cases of rape seemed to only cause the women more agony than justice. There was even this quick rape scene, and at that point I was just done. I understand that theater is supposed to open the conversation, and it definitely does, but I’m not sure this is a conversation I wanted to be a part of. By the end, I was glad it was over because this was just a lot of deep dish I did not want to be hashing out anytime soon.
I went to this show after a long day but I was intrigued. I met up with my friend Mona and boyfriend Anthony and we went into the theater together. We were about to see a show and I was excited! The only thing... this show was far from happy. It was quite dark to be honest.
We begin the show with a female soldier, who has returned from war and is now on like 10 different medicines. She felt like no one cared. This was something I felt deep. The war is a scary thing and here I saw the two sides of soldiers: the one that enters the military to make a living and the one that fights and comes back, and is then often told they are crazy. I truly didn't know what to feel.
The rest of the show also spoke about how many people viewed Muslims, especially after terrorist attacks. This is a topic that is no subtle joke, no matter how hard the people around me laughed, could be funny. My best friends are Muslim and they are the most amazing people I have ever met. It made me so sad during the play to remember that this is still a mentality people have. Because a person a certain race or religion does something - that means they are all the same? It is simply not true and can't be true.
Then came the topic of women and how they are seen as weak.. yeah, I know this is truth but it sucks! I mean, I am someone who sees people individually, the way they are as a person, the rest does not matter. Unfortunately as this play was quick to point out - gender, religion, race, sex - all these things are still discriminated against. Soldiers are called crazy but they truly need help.
This is why, after the show, I was glad it was over but the truth is it wasn't just a play, it was a slice of life. I left feeling drained but it made me want to fight for equality, even more.
Want to see it?
@ Brooklyn College
thru Feb. 25
What did you experience?
Let PXP know in the comments below...