Shakespeare Saves a Life in the Middle of Montana
After two years of paralysis from a high school sports injury. After six years in the United States Army. After a full-blown transition into a classic case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stephan Wolfert hopped off an Amtrak train deep in the mountains of Montana. Far from home. Close to the middle of nowhere. And without the first damn clue of what to do for the rest of his life.
Until, as Fate would literally have it, he stepped into a local theater and saw a production of William Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Twenty years later, using Shakespeare’s timeless words, and a few of his own, actor/veteran Stephan Wolfert in Cry Havoc! leads us on an interactive journey to meet Shakespeare’s veterans. He also brings us face to face with one of the most vexing military – and civilian – problems of our time.
How Do You Leave Berserker Behind?
Men and women are tested and trained before entering the military. While serving in the military, they continue to be tested and trained to ensure “combat readiness”. Or, as Wolfert suggests, to harness their “berserker energy”. Berserkers were Norse warriors of old who fought with a trance-like fury, and the value of that spirit of rage is as important to the military of today as it ever was. But there’s no “off switch”. After years of testing and training to maintain combat readiness, there is no testing and training to leave military service and rejoin the civilian world. No testing to ensure “NON-Combat readiness”. No training to eliminate our warrior’s “berserker energy”. Leaving the “berserker” to pose the unanswered question: “Now what?”
Shakespeare had something to say about that. He wrote about the relationships between veterans, politicians, and civilians. He wrote about how these relationships can either prevent or create havoc.
Cry Havoc! is a one-person play that unites veterans with civilians. It shows us that the military men and women of Shakespeare’s time wrestled with the same hopes and worries that occupy our modern lives. It explores the difficulties that our veterans and their families face.
And maybe, just maybe, it will help them eliminate the berserker and truly come home.
Posted October, 2022
Used with permission by De-Cruit, www.decruit.org
- Written and performed by Stephan Wolfert
- Directed by Eric Tucker
- "Cry Havoc!" is 75 minutes long and contains depictions of war, violence and strong language. It also contains humor, vulnerability, Shakespeare and hope.