Charlie Mike Theatre Company with Kansas City Fringe Festival presented:
A One-Act play based on true events-
Introducing: Shawn Dunham as Sean Reed
Ryan K. Webster as Reverend Charles W. Davidson Sr.
Brenna McLeod as Shawna Reed Hancock
Markus Raines as Charles W. Davidson Jr.
The playwright of "Warriors Rising" once told a story of how she met a fellow veteran who, having come home from Vietnam, found no welcome but the rage of protestors. Sitting alone by himself, he had been greeted by a black man, who came up to him, welcomed him back, and handed him a cigar, saying, "I think you need this more than I do." This incident has now been transmuted into a single act play at the Squeezebox theater.
In it, we meet the two strangers, the small-town boy from Missouri who never even saw a black man before he was ten, and the preacher who grew up in the deep middle of segregated Mississippi. They tell about their different backgrounds, each struggling against a system that does not wish to see them or to acknowledge the sins against them. The incident is replayed, and each of them walks away a different man.
The second act brings us closer to home, in the wake of the Charleston church massacre. Again, two strangers: a black lawyer and a white soldier. Another encounter in another airport. What follows is a frank discussion of a world that hasn't really changed that much. But there is humanity in the exchange, and where there is humanity there is hope. And sometimes, what goes around, comes around.
The Charlie Mike Theatre Company is dedicated to telling stories for and by "the service community": that is, military and first responders. As a veteran, this reviewer was particularly interested to see the approach taken.
It must be said that they bring real truth to the material; there was much that this reviewer knew all too well to be true. It is a raw truth: this is definitely not one for children. But for those who have gained battle scars of their own, be it through combat or the million ways in which society declares war against itself, it may just be a good way to help with the healing.
Great acting in a play that is professionally done about the parallels of fighting for freedom and fighting for civil rights. Freedom is lost without civil rights, an idea you will embrace after seeing this show.
I've now seen this show twice. TWICE. It's that good. I tried explaining it to someone a full day after seeing it, and was interrupted by tears that just wouldn't stop. Had lunch today with the friend I saw it with on Monday, and she related the same experience - the friend she'd related it to also cried. I realized during my second viewing of the show just what it was that had me returning for another viewing… this show makes you want to be a better person. Even if you're already amazing, you'll still be inspired to be even BETTER. Go. As of this review, there are 2 performances left. Go. Really. Just… go. You will be so glad you did.
Christine Dombourian Rinck
I cannot recommend Warriors Rising enough. The play is so authentic to the experience of both military in the Vietnam War and civil rights workers in the 60s. The follow-up years later with the young African American and the Lesbian girl show how the discrimination shown in the 60s has not really changed. It has only moved to other things. The plot moves well. It made me laugh and cry. Lots of different emotions. It is very well written. The actors are true to the play characters. I hope it is filmed and shown at some of the film festivals. It would fit that genre well.
Warriors Rising was absolutely amazing. My husband and I were both very moved by it and ended up discussing many of the points brought up in the play on the way home, it simply had a way of provoking discussion. I enjoyed the simplistic set which brought all the focus on to the actors and the characters they were portraying. And of the actors, I have nothing but good things to say.
It was a wonderful and well done play by a company deserving of success. Just be sure to bring a tissue… I now know just how waterproof my mascara is.
Warriors Rising is an amazing play. The acting was strong and the dialogue of the play was moving. The actors are either veterans themselves or have a military connection, which makes the company highly credible to be exploring this topic. The narrative pulls together many of the battles fought every day in the US and in wars. Quite poetically the playwright interweaves four actors and four generations with unique struggles and perspective all returning to the power of love. I highly recommend this play!
Loved the integration of civil rights struggles with returning combat veterans. Great acting, creative plot. Brought tears to my eyes.