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Hope College Theatre to
Present "A Piece of My Heart"

Posted October 4, 2000

HOLLAND -- Hope College Theatre will open its fall season on Wednesday, Oct. 11, with a production of "A Piece of My Heart" by Shirley Lauro, a powerful drama of six women who served in Vietnam.

The production will be presented in the studio theatre of the DeWitt Center, located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. There will also be performances on Thursday, Oct. 12; Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 18-19; and Friday- Saturday, Oct. 27-28. Curtain time for all performances is 8 p.m.

Tickets are $7, with a special price of $4 for senior citizens and students. Reservations may be made by calling the theatre lobby ticket office at (616) 395-7890. The studio theatre has limited capacity, so early reservations are suggested.

The play is based on Keith Walker's book of the same title, which contains the stories of 26 American women who served in Vietnam. The dramatic version focuses on how four nurses, a Red Cross worker and a country-western singer came to serve in Vietnam. The play portrays each young woman before, during and after her tour in the war-torn jungle, and ends as each leaves a personal token at The Wall in Washington, D.C.

According to John Tammi, professor of theatre and director of the production, while "A Piece of My Heart" was chosen for the current season because it offers solid roles for women actors to tackle, it has grown to be much more than simply another theatre production.

"All of us involved in the project have learned a tremendous amount about the nature of the conflict in Vietnam and what the people who served there went through," he said. "A play like this gives our theatre the opportunity to become an open classroom where a vital issue can be articulated and discussed."

"For students who may think of the Vietnam War as ancient history, some important lessons have been learned," Tammi said. "I should think the community at large would want to attend and take part in the discussion as well."

The cast of six women and one male actor includes: seniors Anne K. Pott of Hamilton and Whitney Elizabeth Young of Decatur; junior Kathryn Cleveland of Brighton; sophomores Jane Bast of Grand Rapids and Daniel Bruggers of Lima, Peru; freshman Jeanette Austin of Minneapolis, Minn.; and 1996 Hope graduate Amy E. Otis, who is international education coordinator of special programs at Hope.

In addition to Tammi, members of the theatre faculty participating in the production include: Richard Smith, scenic designer; Michelle Bombe, costume designer; and Perry Landes, lighting designer. John Erskine, recording arts manager for the department of music at Hope, is serving as guest sound designer. The stage manager is Ryan Graves, a sophomore from Greencastle, Ind.

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