A few unusual additions showed up at a downtown rehearsal room a few weeks ago for the actors’ first read-through of the script for “How I Got That Story” at Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company.
For them, war is more than a story.
They were Ernie D’Leon, an army recon man who served in Vietnam. Joe Ciokon, a U.S. Navy reporter in Vietnam. Max Gruzen, a U.S. Army photojournalist in Vietnam. And Sue Diaz, who wrote a book while her son was on two deployments in Iraq. Diaz also hears many war stories — she runs writing workshops for veterans.
The play, written in 1979 by Amlin Gray, follows a fictional news reporter through Ambo Land, a pseudo-Vietnam. As he whirls through the country, he and the audience experience heightened, absurd characters and places.
But director Seema Sueko wants to ground the play in reality and authenticity.
That’s why she asked the veterans to be at the first read-through of the play, to give their two cents on the situations and motivations the actors need to portray. “It is definitely not a performance,” Sueko said. “It is discovery.”