Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 4:12 pm | Light Rain Fog/Mist 57º


Ratatat Theater Group Looking for Veterans to Audition for ‘Happy Few’

Ratatat Theater Group is looking for veterans to audition for Happy Few, a new play based on the stories of Santa Barbara veterans.

Ratatat TG, a Santa Barbara theater company dedicated to new work and community enlivenment, has developed a new play based on William Shakespeare’s Henry V and the stories of Santa Barbara’s veterans. In Happy Few, the classic characters from our literate past mingle with the personal stories from our neighbors’ lives, forming a play that explores issues of patriotism, purpose and what is worth fighting for in our country today.

No acting experience is necessary. Veterans of all ages and experiences are invited to audition.

For information or to make an appointment, please contact Casey Caldwell by phone at 805.679.1268 or email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Rehearsals will begin the week of July 15 and will continue twice a week until the play opens Nov. 7. If you are cast, we will work with your schedule.

What’s the play 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?

Ratatat 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.

And 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 neighbor’s lives. The play wrestles with some of our deepest yearnings — for a leader, for a cause, for a something to believe in — yearnings that are very old and always new. We hope through the play to help us all understand those yearnings a little better, and what to do with them.

Find more information about the play and profiles of some of the veterans we interviewed on our website by clicking here.

— Casey Caldwell represents Ratatat Theater Group.

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