War is hell, as the saying goes, and the actors that brought “Last Out – Elegy Of A Green Beret” to the stage of the Thomas H. Craig Center for Performing Arts at Vermillion High School made sure to drive that point home to their audience last weekend.
The play, written by Scott Mann, one of the actors, tells the story of Army Green Beret Danny Patton after he’s fallen and the battles he continues to fight from tribal Afghanistan to his own living room.
All scenes of the one-act play take place in the afterlife, with the audience swept from the home of Danny to his Afghan firebase and back to his home once again.
Each scene spans different times from Danny’s youth and military career that range from May of 1989 until his death in 2015.
It’s a story that accurately portrays not only what soldiers must endure on the battlefield, but also the struggles encountered by loved ones left behind at home.
The lighting and sound effects are harsh; the language is coarse and the actors portray battle situations so realistic that Diego Hernandez, a clinical psychologist, accompanies the actors to help anyone in their audiences that may experience post-traumatic stress while watching the story unfold.
The four actors that presented “Last Out” are all military veterans themselves. At the end of the performance, the four remained on stage and introduced themselves to the audience and talked a bit about their military background.
Mann choked up with emotion as he mentioned that his son will be a lieutenant next year in the United States Army.
“I wrote this play for him and I wrote if for all of you,” he said, “because I feel that, 18 years into this war, most folks in this country don’t even know that we’re fighting. I think it’s really important, regardless of where you stand on it, that if we’re going to send our young men and women into the fray, we damn sure better know what we’re asking them to do.
“That’s why I wrote it … and to honor men and women and their families who serve and tell their stories that almost never gets told,” Mann said.
Vermillion is one of 16 stops made by the actors during their nation-wide tour.