ReEntry @ Urban Stages, New York

cast list
Joseph Harrell, Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris, Bobby Moreno, PJ Sosko, Sheila Tapia

directed by
KJ Sanchez
Sometimes a show sneaks up and grabs an audience in ways they never expected. ReEntry is just such a show. Taking a simple premise, the exploration of U.S. Marines returning to the civilian society after a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, ReEntry builds on the transcripts of interviews to construct a compelling and surprising piece of theater.

Co-writer Emily Ackerman and co-writer/director KJ Sanchez, have conducted interviews and extensively researched the experiences of U.S. Marines and their families to create a piece of theatre that is both real and organic. ReEntry does not explore the rights or wrongs of war. It does not explore the liberal versus conservative views of either Iraq or Afghanistan. What it does explore are the people, the men and women, that fight these wars, their families and their experiences both during and after deployment.
The cast of five includes an ex-Marine, Joseph Harrell, who addresses the audience as the parents of those returning from the battle zones. Mr. Harrell explains the psychology behind the building of Marines, behind the building of unit cohesion and how men and women are turned into a fighting force. It is an elegant explanation that is a starting point to understanding what comes after.

What follows, after all, is a roller coaster of emotions and actions, focused primarily on a family of four. They are a mother and daughter who are not in the service and not from a military background as well as two sons who are in the Marines, one an officer and one an enlisted man. This family is our entry into the world of the Marines. Intertwined with other stories, the journey of this family is charted from the war zone to home and back again.

ReEntry takes the audience into a world that is seldom seen, not through the prism of advocating what is concretely right or wrong, but through the prism of people involved.

Without a draft, there is a choice now to join or not to join the military. ReEntry invites us to explore the choices and consequences of a military life. At the same time, it never distances those who go to war from our complicity. A line in the show sums this up. I dont give a shit what this war is about. Im going to do my job. You guys voted in the people who tell us what to do. And, if you dont like it, then you need to do something about it.

The cast, Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris, Bobby Moreno, PJ Sosko, and Sheila Tapia, bring life to the men and women portrayed honestly and fully, without ever veering into caricature. They helped to make ReEntry into a thoughtful, funny, reflective, incisive and thrilling piece of theater. By all means, see this show.

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