Veterans' Day

The plight of the returning war veteran isn’t a particularly new theme — really, it’s as old as war itself — but it’s an enduring one. And Tom Cole’s harrowing 1976 play Medal of Honor Rag, based on the true story of a black Vietnam vet, remains vital on a universal level unhindered by time, place and sociology. Barbara Thayer of the nonprofit Association for Retention of Cultural Heritages (ARCH) thinks it’s a great vehicle for sparking recognition of one of society’s harshest hidden ills. “I was searching for a theatrical piece that would speak to the magnitude of difficulty and the significance of the problems veterans face after they return home from active duty,” Thayer explains.

She found it with Medal of Honor Rag, which opens at 2 p.m. today at Su Teatro @ the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Drive, for a run through November 7. “The veteran, in a very terrible and yet interesting way, is at the nexus of social predicaments we all face: health, education, housing, employment-related things. These are all of the basic predicaments of our contemporary American universe,” she says. “By taking the opportunity to use that as a starting point, we hope to get people talking about it a lot. “They’ll see some fantastic acting and a powerful and moving yet legitimate form of entertainment that’s not a diatribe or a case of proselytizing on a cause,” Thayer continues. “What theater can do better than many other media is encourage that intimate relationship with a topic through identification with characters. Audiences can be drawn into the circumstances and world of a living, real person with predicaments they will recognize and care about.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance by e-mailing or calling 303-296-0219.
Sundays, 2 p.m.; Nov. 5-6, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 24. Continues through Nov. 7, 2010

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