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Letter From the LiveWire Chicago Artistic Director

2011-2012, Volume 6
by LiveWire Artistic Director Joel Ewing

Steppenwolf’s season theme of “Dispatches from the Homefront” led LiveWire Chicago Theatre to Bekah Brunstetter and her fascinating play, OOHRAH! Our company was recently charged with a mission: Come up with a new mission. After many living room meetings, late-night discussions, and bar room debates, LiveWire came to the conclusion that creating theatre that reflects the current cultural landscape of our community through productions of original and contemporary works is most valuable to us. We then took that ideal a step further and dedicated our organization solely to producing world and Chicago premieres. In short, we dig new plays and emerging playwrights and we want to share them with you.

While plays dealing with war and the effects that it can have on the lives of those who have served their country is certainly not uncharted territory for theatre, very few playwrights have tackled these topics with such a unique perspective and distinct voice as Bekah Brunstetter. Rather than using her play as a platform to voice political feelings about the United States’
involvement in current wars, she turns her eyes back home and gives us an intimate and complex comedy with emotionally conflicted characters just trying to do the best they can. Bekah’s world is a balance of the funny, absurd, poignant, and dramatic.

OOHRAH! is a deep examination of what drives and compels a soldier to serve his or her country. It’s also about Krispy Kreme donuts and Home Depots. Oohrah! explores the inevitable feeling of futility that invades the soldier when they return from the battlefield and find themselves suddenly back on the homefront. It also has people smoking cigarettes in kitchens and shopping for duvet covers.

OOHRAH! is a dissection of the dichotomy of coming home from war, but still not finding peace. In addition, there are guns and tiaras. Oohrah! poses questions such as, “When we finally get what we have long-yearned for, why do we still find ourselves wanting more?” It also asks if it’s okay to serve red or white out of plastic wine glasses.

We at LiveWire know that war is a topic that touches all of our lives today in some form or fashion. We know that examination of the reasons for and repercussions of war can be difficult to discuss. We believe that OOHRAH! opens the door to a dialogue that brings new light to a subject that we’ve all discussed time and again. We thank Bekah Brunstetter for giving us
a voice. We thank Steppenwolf for giving us the microphone. And we thank you for seeing a new play. Welcome to LiveWire Chicago Theatre.

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