Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 10 , 2018, 8:57 pm | Fair 53º


Ratatat’s ‘Happy Few’ Weaves Veterans’ Stories With ‘Henry V’

Ratatat Theater Group, a Santa Barbara theater company dedicated to telling locally grounded stories that build our community, is premiering a new play in November called Happy Few, which combines the first-person accounts of Santa Barbara veterans with the story of William Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Our performances are presented in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library’s “Big Read” series, the Veterans Coordinating Council of Santa Barbara and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB.

The performances present an opportunity to celebrate and engage with Veterans Day, explore the history of Europe and America and its personal effects on the lives of veterans, and engage with deep questions of purpose, patriotism and what is worth fighting for in life.

Performances will be:

» Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu St.; free to the public
» Saturday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Public Library at 40 E. Anapamu St.; free to the public
» Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall at 1745 Mission Drive; free to the public
» Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Veterans Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd.; pay what you will, suggested donation $10
» Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Veterans Building, 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd.; pay what you will, suggested donation $10
» Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at UCSB in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building’s McCune Conference Room, Room No. 6020; free to the public
» Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara's Parish Hall, 1535 Santa Barbara St; admission $10
» Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara's Parish Hall, 1535 Santa Barbara St.; admission $10

Click here for more information, reservations, etc.

What’s It All About?

Happy Few tracks the path of war, from the early days of uncertainty and excitement, to the battlefield where men and women are beaten down and rise up, to the journey home, where people try figure out what it all meant, and try to find peace. It tracks this path with two guides: first, a classic representation of war — Shakespeare’s Henry V — and second, the personal stories of veterans from Santa Barbara.

We found in Henry V a play that can make us shiver with its vision of honor, glorious sacrifice, a “band of brothers” that “shall be remembered.” The play speaks to some of the deepest longings of our souls. And yet, the “happy few” of the play fight a war that is essentially futile — a squabble for land and power, and their victory is reversed only a few years later. So what was the meaning of their struggle?

We conducted interviews over a period of months with Santa Barbara veterans who fought in World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places and times, and found that though the specifics were different, many things were the same. Nearly everyone spoke of their pride in the ideal of the military, of the principles of sacrifice and brotherhood that it represents; but everyone had also seen that ideal cause pain, and struggled with that pain.

So we mixed these stories together to make a new play, in which classic characters from our literary past mingle with the personal stories from our neighbors’ lives. The play wrestles with some of our deepest yearnings — for a leader, for a cause, for something to believe in — yearnings that are very old and always new. We hope through the play to help us all understand a little better our war to resolve those yearnings, and how to fight it, in our hearts and in our world.

About Ratatat Theater Group

Ratatat Theater Group is a Santa Barbara theater company dedicated to innovative, community-oriented original work. Its first play, Cuts, a docu-musical comedy about hair, premiered in 2008. More recent projects include Body/Bach-Min/Max, which premiered at the Lit Moon Fringe Festival and was dubbed "a triumph of creative expression in all its giddy glory" (Santa Barbara Independent); Roses, which participated in the Company Creation Festival in Los Angeles in February; and Laws of Motion, a one-man play about physics, faith and the motion of life, presented in partnership with Westmont College.

Happy Few is presented in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, the Santa Barbara Public Library, with funding from Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library, the Veterans Coordinating Council of Santa Barbara, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UCSB and Noozhawk.com, our premier media sponsor.

— Casey Caldwell is the artistic director for Ratatat Theater Group.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.