Anxiety. Fear. Reunion. Alienation. Absence. Excitement. How does a veteran cope with returning home from deployment? What happens to their families? How has life changed? These were the questions MiraCosta College theatre director Tracy Williams was asking to prepare for the original production, Coming Home.
From the voices of local U.S. veterans, the unique theatrical event Coming Home was conceived to explore the celebrations and complications when service men and women return home from deployment overseas. “In fall 2019 we started interviewing veterans and their families about the process of coming home from long deployments. We were gathering material for an original play,” Williams recalled. “Our intention was to devise a piece of theatre exploring the reintegration, anxiety, and hope connected with returning to civilian life.” The set and costumes were designed, interviews had been conducted, and physical materials were all gathered when Covid-19 hit. With classes moving to an online format, Williams, determined to let the veterans’ voices answer how life changes, assigned the actors to craft out five-minute monologues from the written materials and interviews. “It was impossible to think that we wouldn’t honor the stories we had gathered in some way,” Williams said.
The MiraCosta College theatre students were tasked to take the veterans’ stories and create their own characters and circumstances for each piece. The result is Coming Home, 24 mini movies with each actor working in their own home and neighborhood.
The videos were recorded using the actor’s own cameras, as well as their own lighting, sound, and costumes. Williams is hopeful the production will be fully realized on the stage in the future, but for now, “We are grateful for each other and for the many people who gave us a glimpse into their lives and permission to tell their stories.”
Coming Home is available now on YouTube and does feature some adult language. Watch it here. https://youtu.be/hYeTkBA4_Jc
About MiraCosta College
The MiraCosta Community College District has served the coastal North San Diego County area for over 80 years. More than 21,000 credit students per semester in over 70 disciplines enroll in associate degrees, university transfer and workforce readiness certificate programs. The college also serves a wide spectrum of educational needs in the region ranging from programs for adult education, basic skills, and ESL to a California Community College pilot program offering the nation’s first baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing. MiraCosta College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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