After attending a performance of the play Letters Home at The Bushnell, students at Bolton High School wrote responses to the performance focusing on what touched them the most or what was most provocative for them. Here is what they thought:
“Letters Home is one play that I am actually glad that I saw. The theater has never impacted me, or made me feel true emotion. This play was completely different. I loved it because it was true reality. The mental image of a soldier, hunched over, caked in mud, writing these exact words to his or her loved ones was what made it so compelling. Everyone in my section was like a sponge, absorbing every word and thinking about its true meaning.” Ande S.
“This play was most definitely not a comedy. It was a life telling experience of what real human beings go through when they want to risk their lives for their country.” Amy C.
“While watching Letters Home, all I could think about was how this wasn’t just some act made up by people who have too much time on their hands. They were real letters, from real people, in actual war, some of whom were now dead. I thought it was an off putting concept to think about in a play, and how haunting it was to know that some of these people were actually killed in war. In the beginning of the show, the letters seemed rather mundane, “I miss you,” It’s hot here,” It’s dusty,’ this place sucks” were among what seemed like letters from people who, while missing their homes, and not necessarily content, weren’t absolutely sick of where they were stationed yet. I thought it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. That soon changed after another letter or two. The letters started to sound more and more like these people were genuinely becoming fearful for their lives out there and that they were afraid each letter might be their last.” Mike M.
“When I first saw the soldiers marching up onto the stage I got the sense that they had a very tough exterior….Each soldier had a different personality and was from a different background. Some seemed tougher than others and some seemed more innocent-minded than the others. There was a variety in race. This just shows that no matter where you are from you may still go through the same experiences as someone else. The army unites all races and cultures expecting soldiers to be battle ready and work as a unit.” Kim H.
“They spoke of the horrendous sandstorms that choked the air out of their lungs, the unrelenting rain that made movement impossible and vulnerability high, as well as the Iraqi children who, in the words of one of the soldiers, ‘shot at them one day, and hugged and begged them for food the next.”’ Jesse R.
“I was most amazed by the series of corresponding monologues between the son, his mother, the then the Sergeant form the son’s squad. When the son asks why his mom had not been writing lately, I was sitting in my seat really hoping that the son would not be killed. When it was determined that he had died, it deeply saddened me. I felt pity for the son who never heard from his parents and thought that they had abandoned him. I felt even worse for the mother, however, when after her son’s death she found out that she could have simply e-mailed him. After the commanding officer wrote the mother to tell her how much he and the other men would miss her son, I did not expect the relationship between the mother and the other men to continue. It was touching how one man kept in contact with the mother and how she managed to keep helping the soldiers by baking cookies and sending supplies even though she had no real reason to anymore.” Sarah C.
“I now understand the meaning of “war changes you.” Evan W.
For me, the most touching letter was the one where the mom’s son’s leg was amputated and while folding the clothes she is searching for the other sock, but then realizing that he only needed one sock.” Robbie M.
“While listening to the many stories shared by the actors, I realized that the soldiers who lived these lives and wrote the letters had learned to cherish life and to appreciate the small things in life that make it all worthwhile. For examble one man shared that the kids in Iraq loved them because they were giving out candy and that he was known as the candy man. This part made me smile because these kids had appreciated the small things that the soldiers had to offer. This made me feel guilty because I take for granted getting to see my family everyday and living in a home with my own space. It made me look at life in a new way and appreciate what I have. Melissa B.
“The play, Letters Home, was one of the best war plays I have ever seen. It gives people an inside look as to how the mindset of our soldiers change as they are thrust into war. Also it gives us a chance to understand and learn things that the media and the government don’t like to tell us. The provocative nature of the play allows the viewer to become disturbed, and educated about government, and how war really can change a person.” John D.
Did you see Letters Home? Let us know what you thought.