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.