By Laura Yates
Often, the simplest messages best convey the chaos of war.
"Bodies of War," a collection of Ohio University students' short theater movement pieces, attempts to express this theme through performances at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the Scripps Amphitheatre.
"This is a very bare bones production," said Rebecca VerNooy, visiting professor of theater and director of the event. "The theme of war is in all of our conscious; the goal of 'Bodies of War' is to bring it to the forefront."
Funded by Arts of Ohio, the interdisciplinary project features 10 short one-act pieces of three to 10 minutes each. Allowed to express their views freely, students chose a variety of performance methods utilizing poetry, monologue and music to incorporate into their movement pieces. The participants will not use props or projections in order to keep audience members' focus on the theme of war and their reaction to each piece.
Freshman theater major Allie McCarthy used the song "The News" by Jack Johnson as well as a self-written dialogue between a mother and a daughter to create a compelling art form that expresses curiosity about war coverage.
"This piece is important to me because the song and the dialogue support each other," McCarthy said. "I feel neither of the pieces would be able to stand alone as strong and as meaningfully as they do together. It's a great way to show how music and theater share a bond."
Several participants attended weekly workshops lead by VerNooy to further explore what war meant to them as individuals and to society. Students brought related articles or photos as inspiration to practice acting and movement improvisation, said VerNooy, who will perform a piece crafted from a New Yorker article called "Ya'll Torture Me Home," a humorous selection by George Saunders about outlawing washboarding.
"(Bodies of War) helps students find their own creative voices," VerNooy said. "Actors and students don't have to wait for people to give them work -- they can go out and create their own."