Letters tell the story of those who serve the stars and stripes


Actors perform in the “Letters Home” production during a previous installment. The group will be in Daggy Hall Nov. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Katherine Kruse Evergreen Theatre reporter


“Letters Home,” a script by William Massolia, is the story of men and women serving in the military overseas and their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan written from letters by real soldiers.

Massolia will direct the show with the Griffin Theatre Company. Massolia said he created the play from 45 letters after reading 400, all of which came from service men and women.

“Some of the letters are funny and heartwarming, and others are powerful, moving and delve into the extreme experience that is war,” Massolia said.

Massolia said some letters were from military mothers who recounted their experiences at home while their loved ones were deployed.

Actress Lynda Shadrake portrays the mothers in the show. Shadrake said the show had a profound impact on her life, and she considers it the most important theater piece she’s been in.

“Vets have thanked us for providing a voice for them, and it has been an honor to meet them and talk with them,” Shadrake said.

Colin Sphar plays Clint Turnbull, Spc. National Guard from Iowa, and Parker Gyokeres of the Air Force. Sphar, a native Californian from a non-military family, said the show opened his eyes to the tremendous sacrifice that soldiers make.

“My favorite part is hearing the reactions of those who had no previous connections to the wars we’re in,” Sphar said. “Ninety-nine percent of Americans today don’t have any immediate relation to anyone serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, which is really different from previous wars.”

Sphar said one of the most difficult parts of acting in the show is preparing himself to live out the letters on stage. He said he has to remind himself that he’s acting to represent the lives and stories of soldiers overseas.

“It’s been an extremely positive and meaningful experience when veterans see the show,” he said. “One veteran stood up and told us we had ‘released a lot of ghosts’ in the theater that night, and he thanked us for that.”

“Letters Home” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16 in Jones Theatre in Daggy Hall.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $9 for students and youth. Veterans and active-duty military and family get in for free. Tickets are available online, by phone and at the door two hours before the show.

Visit www.performingarts.wsu.edu and click Performances for more information.