Thursday, August 9, 2012

FALLUJAH - Iraq War Opera Deals With PTSD

Have you ever thought about the healing powers of music? Perhaps you have calmed a restless infant by singing the baby to sleep or rocking the baby to music playing in the background. Or maybe you have found yourself singing a song or playing a musical instrument to soothe your own angst. Music therapists continue to study the affect of music on the brain. For example, a person who stutters often is able to sing an entire song or even a complete concert without a single stutter. Science aside, we all know that certain songs will jog our memories, both good and bad. Music is powerful!

Statue, Three Servicemen, Vietnam Veterans Mem...
Statue, Three Servicemen, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Music is a universal language, a way to tell a story to which most if not all people can connect; even if the audience does not understand every word, they do feel the passion and rhythm. Opera has been with us since the 16th century; operas are often based on novels both fact and fiction. Operas cover the gamut from love, marriage, hate, families, feuds, war, politics...There are two what you might call light operas that continue to play throughout the world which deal with revolutions and the suffering of those involved in the conflicts. These are Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.

Now comes a new opera Fallujah. Fallujah is the creation of Marine and Iraq War vet Christian Ellis and Iraqi American playwright Heather Raffo. You can learn more about Fallujah via this video or by clicking here.



Fallujah's authors and composer, Tobin Stokes, are hopeful that their opera will reach veterans and active duty military who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  According to NBC Entertainment News:
"Ellis himself is still living with the traumas he experienced in the war. His transition home was difficult, and it took some time before a friend who worked with veterans helped him realize he was suffering from PTSD. Even now, suicidal thoughts still come and go. And he's struggling to find work in a world that he notes seems unfriendly to all unemployed people, but especially to veterans. He's sent out 200 resumes and received only two calls about work."

Here's hoping that Fallujah (which is in workshop status now) will find a theater to call home. This is a process, but miracles in recovery do happen. 
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