Posted September 21, 2007

‘In Conflict’: Temple University students explore issues of war through drama

In Conflict
Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University
Senior Damon Williams, artistic director of Temple theaters Doug Wager and author Yvonne Latty discuss how to best

portray the story of a young soldier who has just returned home from war. Students worked closely with Wager and Latty to prepare for In Conflict, which opens on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Randall Theater. A preview showing is scheduled for Oct. 3

Several students sat outside Temple’s Randall Theater with portable CD players and notebooks as the recorded voices of young soldiers recounting stories of war streamed in through their earphones.

This was a typical rehearsal night for student actors as they prepared for In Conflict, a play that gives voice to the countless stories of tragedy and triumph experienced by young men and women who served in Iraq.

Instead of depending on a written script, students make use of tape-recorded interviews, which were compiled for a book of the same name by former Philadelphia Daily News journalist Yvonne Latty.

At times, their stories are difficult to bear, said Danielle Pinnock, a sophomore theater and political science major who is depicting wounded Army Sgt. Lisa Hayes in the play.


But becoming familiar with tone, accents, real emotions and speech patterns of the men and women whose stories they will portray on stage adds a new element to the rehearsal process, Pinnock said.

“This has been interesting. In a regular play you don’t deal with real people. Even if you are dealing with a historic character, you never get to hear their voices or find out who they were,” she said.

In Conflict will open Temple Theaters’ 2007-08 season with an Oct. 4–13 run in Temple University’s Randall Theater, 2020 N. 13th St.

Adapted for stage by Douglas Wager, artistic director for Temple Theaters, In Conflict addresses issues of war through several vignettes that recount real stories, told in the voices of the people who experienced them.

From an Army PFC who watched as a baby was decapitated by a truck to a Marine sergeant from Annapolis, Md., with a strong sense of patriotism and allegiance to the United States, no two stories are alike.

“This play is not about being anti- or pro-war; it’s about the human element of being in conflict,” Wager said.

In addition to working closely with Wager and Latty, students have had an opportunity to meet and speak with the soldiers whose stories they are portraying.

The entire experience has been encouraging to the young soldiers, many of whom are grateful to share their stories, Latty said.

“Knowing that the students are working so hard makes them feel that their stories are important; they really just want their voices to he heard,” she said.

On Oct. 13, the soldiers who are being portrayed on stage will attend the play and participate in a roundtable discussion on Iraq with students and faculty members.

In Conflict runs from Oct. 4 – Oct. 13

With a preview showing at 7:30 p.m. on Oct.3 in Randall Theater, 2020 N. 13th St.,

$20 general admission

$15 seniors / students / Temple faculty and staff

For additional show times and ticket information contact the Liacouras Center Box Office at 1-800-298-4200 or visit