through women's eyes makes a different kind of war story."
- Sally Hayton-Keeva
valiant is about War.
It tells the true stories of 13 women who have fought in, suffered through and survived war.
Concieved and adapted for the stage by Lanna Joffrey from the book Valiant Women in War and Exile by Sally Hayton-Keeva, Valiant explores the perspective of these 13 women and details how war has shaped their lives and subsequently our own.
From Book to Docudrama
In the early 1980ís, Sally Hayton-Keeva began interviewing women about their experiences in war. She had known her fatherís experience in World War II, but how did she, a woman, fit in our collective war history?
"War seen through womenís eyes makes a different kind of war story. I needed to know this different war story. Did war cast shadows over womenís lives as it had my fatherís? Were there women who woke screaming in the night?"
Sally spent five years interviewing over 60 women and eventually transcribing 38 of these womenís stories word-for-word. At the end of this task, she had 2000 pages. From there she edited these pages into her book, Valiant Women in War and Exile. She then had difficulty finding a publisher; it was criticized for not having a definitive point of view on war. Sally was not anti-war or pro-war. To be pro-war meant to belittle Betty Bethards and her son who she lost in Vietnam. To be anti-war meant to disrespect the story of Sara Fabri who spent a year in Auschwitz. The book was finally published in 1987 by City Lights Publishing, but received little recognition and therefore few read it.
I was lucky enough to have read it when I was sixteen. It left such a deep impression on me that many, many years after my sixteenth birthday, I contacted Sally and asked for her permission to adapt her book. She immediately agreed and seven drafts later I created Valiant. Itís important to note that the book has been republished (2003) by Washington State University Press, which references the development of this play and my reasons to adapt it.
What compelled me to do this adaptation was the idea that most of these women had never shared their stories until they spoke to Sally. So many of them have been silent for so long and the book and this play break their silence.
Itís time to listen to what they have to say.
- Lanna Joffrey, adapter
for 2006 New York Innovative Theatre award for Oustanding Ensemble: Tami Dixon,
Lanna Joffrey and Sharahn LaRue McClung. The awards ceremony will take place on
September 18th, 2006.
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