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La Jolla Playhouse Highlights The Needs Of Military Families

LaJolla Theater group performs at Perkins Elementary School in San Diego, Feb...

Photo by Steve Walsh

Above: LaJolla Theater group performs at Perkins Elementary School in San Diego, February 13, 2018

They arrive in the middle of the school year and often disappear just as quickly. A new play shows San Diego elementary students what life is like for their classmates in military families.

Growing up in a military family can be isolating as the family moves to bases and schools around the globe. Even simple questions like, "where are you from?" become complicated.


Home Of The Brave

Home Of The Brave

La Jolla Playhouse announces the cast and creative team for its 2018 Performance Outreach Program (POP) Tour production, Home of the Brave, by Lee Cataluna, helmed by Honolulu Theatre for Youth Artistic Director Eric Johnson (2014 POP Tour, Suzette Who Set to Sea).

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The La Jolla Playhouse has already debuted a new play about military families. It is making the rounds of schools in San Diego County. The organizers spent two years talking to children of military families, inviting them to rehearsals to get their input.

“We assumed we would get stories about deployment and about how young people feel when their parents are deployed," said Steve McCormick, director of Education and Outreach for the La Jolla Playhouse. "We assumed we would get stories about having to move. But the depth of those stories surprised us.”

The play is a collaboration with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. Like San Diego, Honolulu has a large number of military families. Though on the day they performed at Perkins Elementary in Barrio Logan, only a few children raised their hands when asked if they were from a military family.

Playwright Lee Cataluna is a columnist for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She hopes those children learn a little empathy.

“To think about what it’s like to be new. Everybody is new at some point in time," Cataluna said. "It’s hard and its exciting and you’re always so grateful to the person who reaches and says, OK, the office is that way.”

The play addresses the coping skills that these children learn as they move from school to school — their strategies for making friends quickly. One girl resists unpacking, knowing that it will make leaving even harder.

“Home of the Brave” is touring schools in San Diego County until the end of March, followed by a run at the La Jolla Playhouse.

"Home of the Brave" uses the real experiences of military children to tell their stories, in a production now touring San Diego County schools as part of the La Jolla Playhouse's annual Performance Outreach Program.

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