Play brings real-life stories to stage

Department of Theatre and Dance

Audiences will have a chance to go back in history and experience first-hand the stories of six women sent to Vietnam, in the fifth edition to the Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theatre and Dance series,

Shirley Lauro’s “A Piece of my Heart,” directed by Michael King, will open Thursday, March 25 at NKU’s Black Box Theatre.

The story follows six women in their quest to make sense of a world ridden by war.

“It’s not a romantic story,” said Karie Miller, a senior theatre major who plays the character Martha. “It’s about the fight and the triumph of these women.

“That’s the story: how are these women going to survive, and will they survive? In the end, you have to come to the play to find out.”

Miller said that she and the cast found inspiration through strong women in their lives today.

They also had help from various people who have experience in different areas that would be useful to help the cast understand the play as a whole.

“We had some strong expert women come in,” Miller said.

These experts included Liz Goins, a student at NKU who was a medic in Iraq.

Goins talked to the cast about her experience as a medic, and routine military things such as how to march and salute, Miller said.

Another woman, Amy Alexander, is an emergency room nurse as well as mother to Elizabeth, another of the cast members.

Alexander showed the cast how to hang IVs, check a pulse, and other medical procedures, Miller said.

Two people who actually experienced Vietnam helped the cast with their direction: Paul Webster Sr. was a soldier in the war, and Ruth Marks was a nurse stationed in Tokyo.

Having Marks come in and talk was really interesting to Miller, she said, especially since Marks reminded Miller of her character.

Another thing that makes this play important, Miller said, was the fact that with this particular play an actor has the ability to read the script and know that it actually happened.

“You do a play about Shakespeare, and you can’t go back and talk to him,” Miller said. “But this one, you can.”

Miller added that it was important for her to get everything right about this play because it is based on a true story.

“I’d feel horrible if we played it wrong,” Miller said. “It’s not about our interpretation, it’s about getting it out there.”

The play will run through Sunday, April 4. General admission is $10, while tickets for students are $6 and faculty are $8. For more information on ticket prices and times call the box office at (859) 572-5464.