After two years of paralysis from a high school sports injury. After six years in the United States Army. After a full blown transition into a classic case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stephan Wolfert hopped off an Amtrak train deep in the mountains of Montana. Far from home. Close to the middle of nowhere. And without the first damn clue of what to do for the rest of his life.
Until, as Fate would literally have it, he stepped into a local theater and saw a production of William Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Twenty years later, using Shakespeare’s timeless words, and a few of his own, actor/veteran Stephan Wolfert in Cry Havoc! leads us on an interactive journey to meet Shakepeare’s veterans.
He also brings us face to face with one of the most vexing military – and civilian – problems of our time.
Men and women are tested and trained before entering the military. While serving in the military, they continue to be tested and trained to ensure “combat readiness”. Or, as Wolfert suggests, to harness their “berserker energy”. Berserkers were Norse warriors of old who fought with a trance-like fury, and the value of that spirit of rage is as important to the military of today as it ever was.
But there’s no “off switch”. After years of testing and training to maintain combat readiness, there is no testing and training to leave military service and rejoin the civilian world. No testing to ensure “NON-Combat readiness”. No training to eliminate our warrior’s “berserker energy”. Leaving the “berserker” to pose the unanswered question: “Now what?”
Shakespeare had something to say about that. He wrote about the relationships between veterans, politicians and civilians. He wrote about how these relationships can either prevent or create havoc.
Cry Havoc! is a one-person play that unites veterans with civilians. It shows us that the military men and women of Shakespeare’s time wrestled with the same hopes and worries that occupy our modern lives. It explores the difficulties that our veterans and their families face.
And maybe, just maybe, it will help them eliminate the berserker and truly come home.
Posters and Handouts
Stephan Wolfert’s latest production, called “SHE-WOLF”, will use Shakespeare’s text to tell the story of Margaret of Anjou, and star DE-CRUIT’s very own Dawn Stern. Stephan and Dawn received a Writer’s Alliance Award from the Dramatist Guild Foundation, an honor which speaks to the play’s vision and helps fund the production. Coming soon.
Written by Brian Monahan & Stephan Wolfert
Directed by Stephan Wolfert, the military director of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production Movin’ Out!
FIT FOR SOCIETY was a compelling, unflinching, live presentation of the trials and anecdotes of the military experience during a time of war. Honest, funny, moving, poignant and awe-inspiring, FIT FOR SOCIETY was told from the perspective of actual soldiers, survivors and family members. Audiences experienced these actual stories presented without pity, apology or political agenda.
In a 65 minute presentation, audiences met:
- Drill Sergeant Hill: The consummate military mentor. In spite of a cleft palate, he excels to epitomize what inspires men and women to become great soldiers.
- Colonel “Gump” Gaines: The seasoned, weathered, professional, career military officer. Humble, in spite of having seen it all, from the fall of communism to the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. All anyone ever wants to know is if he’s ever killed anybody.
- Lance Corporal Wheeler: A young Marine who lost both legs from an I.E.D. in Iraq. His injuries are so new that he avoids his situation by making people laugh.
- The Army Combat Veteran: This man’s gift is combat. The saying is “bad civilian, good soldier.” He is just a man who doesn’t fit in the civilian world and is very good at war.
- Female Air Force Officer: Women have the “double whammy” of dealing with all that comes with combat regardless of gender, AND all that comes with being a woman in command of men in combat.
- Male Spouse: It’s been said that behind every good man is a great woman, so it stands to reason that behind every good soldier there’s a great civilian. It’s hard enough to be a spouse, but try being the male spouse to a female Marine.
- Navy Submariner: Before there was e-mail and video conferencing soldiers and loved ones shared their lost time with letters and tapes.