Bethany College Theatre Explores Experiences of Women in Vietnam War With ‘A Piece of My Heart’

BETHANY, W.Va. — The Bethany College Theatre Department will present “A Piece of My Heart,” a play by Shirley Lauro that showcases the experiences of women during the Vietnam War. Performances are scheduled for April 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 at 8 p.m. in Wailes Theatre on the College campus. 

“A Piece of My Heart” is based on the true stories of six females, military and civilian, from Keith Walker’s book by the same name. The women’s roles encompass a broad range of interactions with the war, both at home and abroad, and include nurses, a military officer and an entertainer. One actor plays the male roles. 

Lauro’s play has won numerous awards, including The Barbara Deming Prize for Women Playwrights and The Kittredge Foundation Award. While “A Piece of My Heart” is known for its wide appeal that reaches beyond particular political convictions, it is also deeply relevant as many examine America’s historical and contemporary relationship with war.

The cast includes Technical Theatre major Devon Farris of Midland, Pa., as MaryJo; Physics major Ilia Liskooka of New Castle, Pa., as Martha;Theatre major Megan Oberdoerster of Mentor, Ohio, as Whitney; and Elementary Education major Johnna Valenti of Avella, Pa., as Sissy. 

The play is directed by Luke Hardt, Bethany’s Director of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Tracie Lynn Duncan, Bethany College Theatre Technical Director will serve as the Designer. The production crew also includes Theatre major Tina Rykowski of Weirton, W.Va., as Assistant Director;Theatre major Evan Oslund of Oakmont, Pa., as Stage Manager; Theatre and English major Pat McGregor of Westerville, Ohio, as Assistant Stage Manager; Visual Art major Shane Buydasz of Canonsburg, Pa., as Lighting Designer; and Rob Christianson of Marysville, Wash., as Sound Designer.Also on the production crew are Equine Studies major Krystal Daubenspeck of Marysville, Pa.; Social Work major Stephanie Laine of Sanford, Maine;Theatre major Lydia Lavin of Jackson Heights, N.Y.; Psychology major Brittany McAdoo of West Alexander, Pa.;and Visual Art and Psychology major Kirstie Pomilio of Elizabeth, Pa.

Each night of the production, the lobby will be a collection point for Boatsie’s Boxes: Operation Beat the Heat. Patrons are invited to bring items such as body wash, powdered drink mixes and laundry detergent, deodorant, Tylenol/Advil and sunblock SPF 50. To view a complete list of items needed by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, visit www.boatsie.com/itemsneeded.html.

Tickets are by donation only, but reservations are strongly encouraged by calling (304) 829-7124. For inquiries, please contact the Box Office at (304) 829-7124.