Everything in Between Review - Home from the Wars

A moving play about veterans premiered on Veteran’s Day 2016 at the American Legion Hollywood Post 43 – what could be more fitting? After all, the American Legion is the nation’s largest veteran’s organization with more than 2.5 million members and 14,000 posts across the U.S. devoted to serving veterans. Add to that Hollywood Post 43, a Hollywood institution founded in 1919 by World War I veterans working in the film industry – with past membership including Hollywood icons like Rudolf Valentino, Clark Gable, and Mickey Rooney.

J. Kenneth Campbell, Jaimyon Parter, and Campbell De Silva - Photo by Ed Krieger

Written by Rebecca Stahl and directed by award-winning John DiFusco, EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN weaves a tale of one veteran – but the problems he faces when he returns home are true for most veterans. Even the particular war doesn’t seem to make a difference. For these issues are universal as each veteran tries to make sense of vicious and sometimes irrational combat experiences and, at the same time, attempts to adjust to peacetime in his own home town. Can the flood of often violent and troubling memories of war simply stop the moment a veteran comes home?

J. Kenneth Campbell and Caron Strong - Photo by Ed Krieger

Lance Porter (Jaimyon Parker) has just returned from Afghanistan after facing the most traumatic experiences in his entire life. He fears that his girlfriend Brooke (Tania Verafield) doesn’t understand his pain, especially when it is reflected in nightmares, exploding paranoid fears, inability to talk about what is troubling him, and the hopeless certainty that he will never be okay again. Even the support of fellow veterans Gertie (Caron Strong) and Curly (Campbell De Silva) don’t seem to be helping. Try as they might, neither Dr. Ed Chase (J. Kenneth Campbell), Counselor Hawkins (Karl Risinger), nor Martin Walker (Fred Hirz) can get through to him. In fact, there don’t seem to be any military – or even personal - resources which can inspire him to become his old self again.

Tania Verafield and Jaimyon Parker - Photo by Ed Krieger

After a slow and spotty start, EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN gradually found its pace; and the play took off in exciting ways. The production raised valuable and thought-provoking questions about the fate of today’s veterans – or past veterans, for that matter – and attempted to formulate some realistic answers.

Caron Strong and Campbell De Silva - Photo by Ed Krieger

Director John DiFusco’s use of an open, non-traditional setting which added Post 43’s own fittings right into the story line enhanced the realism of the tale through its immersive theatrical qualities. The audience became participants in the production. The talented cast does a great job of letting the audience share in their pain and their desperate attempts to find resolution. Richard Desiato’s set design, Ray Pierce’s lighting, and John DiFusco’s and Dustin Durin’s sound design all added to the production. And, yes, Afghanistan vet Lance Porter really does play the guitar.

At the After-Party - Photo by Elaine L. Mura

EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN runs through December 4, 2016, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Liberty Theater is in the American Legion Hollywood – Post 43, which is located at 2035 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA and has free parking on site. Tickets are $25 (military and veterans $15). For information and reservations, go online.   

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