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San Diego Play Shows Vets’ Range Of Experiences

Anthony LoBue, who often goes by Tony the Vet, is the also the volunteer art ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: Anthony LoBue, who often goes by Tony the Vet, is the also the volunteer art director at the Veterans Museum, 4 21, 2017.

"Vets@Home" is the second attempt to bring live theater to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

The Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park is hosting a series of short plays called "Vets@Home," which tells the stories of veterans trying to move on with their lives.

Patrick Castaneda is a Vietnam veteran who learned theater helped his post-traumatic stress disorder. His treatment by the Veterans Administration hospital in San Diego included a prescription, which helped, but so did acting and writing.

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Katie Turner is artist in residence at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, April 21, 2017.

“Lo and behold, I didn’t need the pills as much,” he said. “I found that I was starting to find something bigger than me. What I like to say is 'I got over my bad self a little bit.'”

Anthony LoBue, who often goes by, Tony the Vet, runs Arts for Vets. He is also a Vietnam veteran and the art director at the museum.

Less than 10 percent of the U.S. population has served in the military. He said that is a problem.

“That means 90 percent of the population is at the mall or doing something else,” LoBue said. “And not quite involved in what the concerns are and the joys of those military veteran family communities.”

The plays deal with the range of experiences veterans have after they leave the military. The museum made a national call for plays.

“The more I started talking to more veterans, the more I realized there is no such thing as the veteran’s story,” said Katie Turner, the artist in residence for the museum. “That’s why we went with the short play format, rather than one, two-hour play.”

"Vets@Home" is 12 segments, each no more than 10 minutes long. Though it was not a requirement, a large number of the vignettes are written by veterans or have veterans in their cast. The topics range from a female veteran struggling with suicide to a veteran trying to determine what people really mean when they are thanking him for his service.

This is the second year the museum has hosted theater. "Vets@Home" opened April 21 and runs through Sunday at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

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