Certain things have to be experienced to be understood. While we civilians might be able to grasp the details of a soldier’s day-to-day life in a war zone—the boredom, the fear—a basic essentialness of the experience is near impossible to uncover. This elusiveness might be what New York-based playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes attempts to capture in her drama, but it offers the audience little else to consider. A family of Puerto Rican descent is at the play’s center; three generations serve during wartime (Korea, Vietnam and the current crisis in Iraq), and if there is a common link among grandfather, father and son, it is the havoc a tour of duty can play on the psyche. Mostly, the scenes are disjointed and blend one into another without a clear sense of thematic purpose. A joint production between Rivendell Theatre and Teatro Vista at the Steppenwolf Garage, director Lisa Portes favors an abstract approach over visceral storytelling, but a few scenes do pop with affecting connection—particularly when Meighan Gerachis, as a mother and former Army nurse, tends to the leg wound sustained by her son (played with just the right sort of bravado by Juan F. Villa) while in Iraq. Despite its many missed targets, the play contains a memorable snippet of imagery: “A seed is a contract with the future… [and] when your son goes to war, you plant every goddamn seed you can find.” (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.