“Oohrah!” Demonstrates Veteran Struggles

By: Emily Balli

In honor of Veterans Day, Glendale Community College theatre put on a wonderful rendition of dramatic comedy, “OOHRAH!” Written by playwright Bekah Brunstetter, “OOHRAH!” demonstrates the variety of struggles that those who serve go through after returning home.

Family dinner scene during Oohrah! Pictured left to right: Aaron Mueller, Nelson Pingitore, Alexxis Briviesca, Mandy Beck, KT Potter and Matthew Wetzel
Family dinner scene during Oohrah! Pictured left to right: Aaron Mueller, Nelson Pingitore, Alexxis Briviesca, Mandy Beck, KT Potter and Matthew Wetzel

The play was held from Nov. 14 through Nov. 22 in the Performing Arts Center at GCC’s main campus. To show respect and honor for those who serve in the military, admission into the show was free for veterans and other military personnel.

The GCC Drama Club also donated all of the proceeds of the drawing that was done during the run of the show to the GCC Veterans Spirit of National Service Scholarship. “”OOHRAH!” was my way of giving back even the smallest amount of gratitude to all our men and women in the armed forces for all they have given us,” said Director David Seitz.

“OOHRAH!” set in North Carolina in 2009, tells a story about Ron, a husband and father that has finally returned home after his third tour in Iraq.

His wife Sara and daughter Lacey are ecstatic to have him back, yet Ron struggles deeply with reintegrating back into normal life. After Sara’s sister Abby meets a Marine and brings him back to meet the family, everything changes and drama ensues.

Director of “OOHRAH!” and Program Director for GCC’s Theatre Arts and Film David Seitz took his inspiration from his students that have proudly served their country, “My inspiration for directing “OOHRAH!” were my students, past and present, who have served or are now serving in the defense of our country.  I am always amazed by the self-sacrifice these men and women continue to make so we can all do what we do and still rest at night. “

Director Seitz also said he is, “overjoyed when the audience can relate to the struggles in the story and gain perspective and empathy for our characters.” Many could relate to the subject matter of “OOHRAH!” so much so that this production was one of GCC theatres highest attended shows in the last ten years.

Matthew Wetzel, who played Ron, really captured the true spirit of a somewhat distraught military man that had returned home. Wetzel excellently came off as hard and tough, yet full of emotion all at once.

Matthew Wetzel and KT Potter in Oohrah! Photo taken by Emily Balli
Matthew Wetzel and KT Potter in Oohrah! Photo taken by Emily Balli

Ron’s wife, Sara, was played by Mandy Beck. Beck was exceptional in her role as Sara, a wife and mother that was trying really hard to have a nice home and a happy family when in reality things weren’t as happy or easy as she wanted them to be.

Lacey, Sara and Ron’s tomboy daughter that aspired to be a marine, was played by KT Potter. Potter did excellently in her role and captured the essence of a young tomboy girl coming into her own.

Abby, Sara’s rather animated and eccentric sister, was played by Alexxis Briviesca. Briviesca really brought Abby to life and consistently had the audience laughing or shaking their heads with her character’s odd yet charming nature.

Alexxis Briviesca and Mandy Beck in Oohrah! Photo taken by Emily Balli
Alexxis Briviesca and Mandy Beck in Oohrah! Photo taken by Emily Balli

Christopher, Abby’s fiancé, was played by Eric Bond. Bond really made the show albeit he wasn’t even a leading role. Christopher, a rather peculiar and comical character, was a perfect fit for Bond. At times when the subject matter of the play seemed dismal, Bond always managed to make the audience laugh with his wonderful portrayal of Christopher.

The Marine that Abby met and fell in lust with on an airplane, Chip, was played by Nelson Pingitore. Pingitore was great at portraying a man that was really down on his luck that was just trying his hardest to accomplish his goals in spite of challenges in his way.

Aaron Mueller, a GCC alumnus that studied graphic design, played Pop Pop, Sara and Abby’s veteran grandfather. Although he wasn’t necessarily a main character, Mueller was able to give the show more depth and emotion with his facial expression and delivery of lines.

The set and property design were also top notch. The set and prop designer’s truly created the perfect setting for the show. They created a two story set including a realistic looking kitchen with a working fridge, sink and microwave along with three bedrooms upstairs which was rather impressive.

All in all, GCC theatre’s rendition of “OOHRAH!” was wonderful. The production was jam-packed full of talented actors, excellent design, and great emotion.

 

 

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