Foreign to Myself Description
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND SUMMARY
Foreign to Myself is a unique theatrical production that follows the life of the returning United States Military Veteran with humor, grace, and compassion. Based on years of research and interviews, Goat in the Road has created a breathtaking portrait of a female Marine who is struggling to find her place at home after three tours in Iraq. Remarkable performances, innovative writing, direct use of interview transcripts, and rigorous physicality make this production unforgettable.
SUMMARY: Alexandra Phillips is a female Marine who has recently returned from her third tour of duty. She struggles while dealing with the daily grind of life: negotiating with family, getting her driver's license renewed, and reliving both the camaraderie and trauma of war. Alex’s tale is paralleled with the true story of Major Charles Whittlesey, a World War I officer and hero of the Battle of Argonne. The fast-moving juxtaposition between these two soldiers creates deep tension, genuine humor, and a feeling of impending mystery in service of a deep investigation into war and homecoming.
Foreign to Myself is an original play and accompanying community engagement activities designed to bring together Veteran and civilian populations in common understanding. With less than one half of one percent of U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces, it is more important than ever that civilians learn about the unique challenges facing returning Vets. Goat in the Road is committed to reaching both Veteran and civilian populations, fostering discussion, and creating awareness around issues of homecoming, identity, and trauma. Past engagement activities have included, panel discussions, post-show talkbacks, art workshops, and group meals.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
“Foreign to Myself was a poignant and authentic view into the devastating psychological aftermath of exposure to war-zone trauma. With humor, compassion, and credibility, the play deftly portrays the comradery and horror of war along with the staggering, unrelenting, deep emotional toll of PTSD. Watching these stories unfold on stage provided a type of insight into the consequences of war trauma that cannot be appreciated by reading an article or hearing it described. Seeing Foreign to Myself could prove to be a valuable tool to help Veterans’ loved ones and the public better understand the impact of PTSD.”
Madeline Uddo, Ph.D., Trauma therapist
“As a combat Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran caregiver wife and veteran advocate, Foreign to Myself was a very accurate account of what our returning warriors struggle with returning home from war. The actors/actresses portrayal was on point and pulled you in as if you were there going through it with them. I am…eternally grateful that civilians are not only getting involved but helping to bring awareness to what our brave warriors face coming home. Simply stunning.”
Diamond Kitchell Gordon, Veteran Advocate and Caregiver
“Foreign to Myself is a beautifully rendered depiction of military service and homecoming in a time of war. Moving, inventive, funny and heartbreaking at the same time, the play is a gentle and persistent invitation to reflect on the divide between Veterans and civilians and how we begin to bridge that divide. An authentic exploration of the everyday experiences of living with post traumatic stress disorder, the play rings true for Veterans, their families, and those of us who wish to welcome them home.
Gala True, PhD, Associate Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine and Research Investigator, Department of Veterans Affairs
New Orleans Veterans Arts and Humanities Alliance
New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center
Gala True PhD
Ray Facundo, OIF Veteran and researcher
Ariel David, OIF Veteran and researcher
Nick Rizzo, OIF Veteran
Kylie Rizzo, Veteran spouse
Michelle Hamilton, Trauma Therapist
Madeline Uddo, Trauma Therapist
KEY FUNDING PARTNERS
New Orleans Theatre Association
Community Partnership Grant from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation
Louisiana Division of the Arts
Arts Council New Orleans