Support AITAF in sending the best of the entertainment industry overseas to uplift troops too wounded to make it home for the holidays.
Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF) was founded in 2008 by Marine and Emmy nominated actor, Adam Driver and actress, Joanne Tucker, but has only performed nationally since then. This winter marks their first international effort. Many service members too injured to go directly back home are treated at US military bases Landstuhl, Vilseck and Ramstein in Germany and while they provide world class medical care and some comforts, the men and women stationed there are still a long way from their families. During this trying time, AITAF's "Greetings from Home" holiday trip will bring some much-needed solace to these wounded warriors.
On December 16th, 2013, a group of America's most talented actors and musicians along with AITAF's small staff will board an airplane to go to Germany. They aren't taking a vacation or filming a major motion picture. Instead, they will land in Frankfurt and drive to Landstuhl Hospital, the first stop of three on our tour. This won't be a typical tour of handshakes or comedy, but will consist of live theater (scenes and monologues) culled from our country's best, most provocative contemporary plays and read by actors of the same caliber who will be eating and sleeping on bases for the duration of their stay.
The 12-15 actors and musicians on tour with us will come from the top of the entertainment industry's ranks; in the past we've welcomed the talents of Laura Linney, Reg E. Cathey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Frances McDormand, Michael Shannon, Dianne Wiest, David Strathairn, Tracie Thoms, Michael Daves, David Schwimmer, Lili Taylor, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose, and Jonathan Batiste, among many others. The diversity of the actors' demographics will reflect the diversity of the US military population.
We will all spend just four days in Germany delivering 3 shows that require no lighting, set or sound. All the actors will sit in chairs on stage in a semi-circle behind whichever actor is up and watch each other (and the audience's reactions) as they each read a monologue from plays by American writers such as John Patrick Shanley (a Marine), Christopher Durang (a Tony award-winner), and Arthur Miller, among many others. The material will not be war-themed or focused and once again, the writers chosen and characters portrayed will be as diverse as the audience we serve. The musicians on tour with us will also accompany the actors on stage for the run of the show and will open and close the evening, while additionally underscoring certain monologues throughout.
The show will be a tour through modern day plays in an effort to expose this audience to as much of a range as possible in the limited time period we have, but instead of focusing on special effects or bells and whistles, we will focus on quality, text and content and won't shy away from material that is going to stimulate our audience both intellectually and emotionally. As each actor reads their monologue, the other actors will laugh and respond just as the audience does, all experiencing the event together and democratically, not divided by material differences or social status.
This show will be especially unique because of the particular audience we will be serving and we can think of no group more deserving of the best the arts has to offer than injured US soldiers, their families and the soldiers, sailors and airmen who take care of them. These members of the Armed Forces are your neighbor, your cousin, your 6th grade teacher, and are all experiencing the ups and downs and stresses of war. As many as 700 people will see the show and be effected by the power language and story-telling has to transport them. Our audience will be inspired by theater's ability to arm society's members with a new means of self-expression using no production elements besides the actors' bodies in space and the effects their spoken text has on those bearing witness to it.
The material performed is both entertaining and challenging and will ideally inspire these communities toward further conversation and dialogue during our post-show meet and greets where citizens, artists and soldiers can interact with each other in ways they may otherwise not have had the context for. Our monologues address the human experience, one we all share regardless of class, cultural background, or political persuasion, and one that can bring some communal cheer and joy to our military's members who are far from the home front.
Here is what people are saying about AITAF, about the same show we will bring to the wounded in Germany:
"It made me feel proud. It made me feel real proud." -US Armed Forces Veteran
"ARTS in the ARMED FORCES is doing something no one else is doing by providing cultural opportunities of the highest quality to the military population in order to boost morale. AITAF quite literally bridges the gap between America's civilian, artistic, and military communities by bringing members from each together under the same roof to remind each other what we all have in common: our humanity and the capacity to share and appreciate our lives through storytelling." -Susan Sarandon (actress)
"The AITAF performance I attended was extraordinary, because I got to see many famous and extremely talented actors doing monologues that were heartfelt and moving, in a very intimate setting...just a stage with chairs, facing the audience.(...) AITAF allowed me to meet them in a setting where they seemed comfortable enough to engage in candid conversations with the audience, face-to-face. It felt very personal and it was a wonderful experience for me." -US Navy Reservist
"The set has given me a renewed vigor to continue to get better and heal." -US Armed Forces Veteran
"Arts in the Armed Forces is an important step in keeping our military part of the country at large, part of our culture. Since the draft was eliminated, there has always been the danger that our military would come to view us as strangers. We must support our brothers and sisters in the armed forces not only materially, but in the human sense as well. Art helps us to understand each other, and that is a very good thing indeed." -John Patrick Shanley (Marine & playwright)
"The actors did a wonderful job with their roles and I appreciated them taking their time to be involved in this most worthwhile endeavor. I think that any veterans etc. who have never been exposed to the theatre got a good representation of it and would not hesitate to support the arts by going to plays, musicals etc. in the future." -US Army Veteran
"AITAF never compromises on artistic quality. We gather the best performers in the business and marshal their immense talents toward serving those who've served. It's rare for actors to feel like they're giving back or making a difference with their craft, and so the audience inspires them to perform at the height of their abilities. What takes place on stage is electrifying. What takes place in the audience, as a result of the performances, is one of the most compelling arguments for the power of live theater and--most importantly--why service members, veterans, and their families should have access to challenging, thought-provoking art of the highest caliber." -Bryan Doerries (AITAF Board Member, Founder of Outside the Wire)
Thank you for your help in bringing some holiday spirit home to our troops.
To learn more feel free to visit www.aitaf.org.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There are a number of risks associated with bringing a large group overseas, from travel delays to poor weather. There is also the risk that tides may change and we may not be permitted to set foot onto military installations. It is AITAF's policy not to give up. Shows will be rescheduled, actors recast, and we will simply persevere and move forward no matter the issues that arise.
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