The Telling Project is coming to Pensacola in November. For the project, the Florida Humanities Council is seeking active duty military, veterans, and their family members who would like to share their stories. The deadline to apply is this Friday, July 10.
The Telling Project was founded by Jonathan Wei in 2008 to help bridge the communication gap that’s grown in America, where less than one percent of the population has served in the military over the past dozen years of war.
“It’s really taken off,” said Lisa Powers, production manager for the project. “A lot of major cities are having sometimes their second “Telling” projects. So it’s a really wonderful, wonderful thing that we have brought to Florida, we being the Florida Humanities Council.”
The event is a theatrical story-telling experience, with veterans telling their own stories in their own words, with the goal of deepening community understanding of the veterans’ experiences.
“Back in the time of the ancient Greeks, it was very common for combat veterans to come home and the whole town would come together and they would tell their stories, so that people understood what sacrifices were made and how to help the veterans reintegrate back into society” Powers said. “We’ve sort of lost that, and The Telling Project and Telling: Pensacola is a way to sort of bring that story-telling back.”
Eligible individuals include any military active duty, veterans and their immediate family members living in Florida. And, to have a diverse panel that represents all aspects of military life, applicants can be from any era, branch of service, or gender.
The forms are available on the Florida Humanities Council website. The application includes questions regarding which branch veterans served in, years of service, and what sort of issues encountered during transition back into civilian life.
“Most importantly, it (form) asks why you’d like to participate,” said Powers. “And I would say most of the applicants say they want to participate because they believe their story should be heard and that it might help others.”
After the application process closes, about a dozen submissions will be pulled for interviews, which will occur August 7-10. Each session will last about two hours. Then approximately six to eight stories will be chosen for the stage production, with rehearsals in October. There will be two performances of Telling: Pensacola. The first will be presented November 8, 2:30 p.m. at Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St. A second performance is set for Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. at the studios of WSRE-TV, 1000 College Blvd.
Despite the production taking place in Pensacola, Powers reiterates that any eligible individuals across the region and state can participate if they’re willing to drive to Pensacola for the rehearsals.
“There is a commitment,” Powers said. “There is about a month-long commitment involved in this whole process, because we are mounting a production. You’ll get some actor training and we’ll move you around the stage and get you confident to stand in front of an audience and tell your story.”