‘Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue’ themes touch the soul

Spring play sees success

Nyla Rahimi, Staff Writer

“Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue” opened April 27 to a receptive and engaged audience, but with the performance that took place, it would be hard to watch it and respond in any other way.

The show begins with recorded clips of news reports covering the 9/11 terrorist attack and transitions to the main cast on stage and their monologues -— how they intertwine and connect throughout the ages thanks to the shared consistency of being at war. Quickly, you get the overall vibe of the show — the themes of history repeating itself, and how that repetition creates intergenerational tragedy.  

The play is directed by Clint Sides and Nick Garcia, and the main cast consists of four actors: Elliot played by Aqeel-Andreas; Grandpop played by Mark Bluford, “emby”; Ginny played by Carswell Ouimet; and Pop played by Jason Anthony. Supporting cast members include Nat Fordyce, who plays a producer; Marissa Vasquez, who plays a sportscaster; and Nate Pierce, who plays a radio host. 

The cast of just seven manages to tell the story of coping with trauma and the reality of that pain being commodified by others without ever understanding the reality of what it means for the people who live it.  

Throughout the story performers manage to shine, each in their own way — captivating monologues explaining their time at war and how they cope, or how they interact with each other seamlessly without ever breaking that wall of unreality. The cast manages to support one another’s performances despite the fact that the majority of their shared scenes are indirect monologues that happen to mix with each other — further punctuating the loneliness each character feels despite the fact that their history is shared.  

The themes of war and tragedy are strong in the show, and the play doesn’t shy away from the grittier and less favorable realities of being on a war field, nor does it shy away from the real mental health impact it has on the people who lived it.  

Ginny manages to experience this war without being a soldier. She was a nurse in Vietnam where she met “Pop” and fell in love. She experiences the horror of being a soldier indirectly — by treating them, and later with the absence of her soldier son Elliot and then the state he’s left in after he serves. She expresses herself through her garden, letting it be the physical manifestation of her emotions and how she manages them. 

It is similar to how Grandpop expresses himself through his flute — and his love for fugues. While at war, Pop throws away the flute passed down to him by his father, representing the stagnation of expression and thus creating an inability to share and heal. This representation is also physical, with Pop never talking with his son about his time at war. By this time, Grandpop is too old and traumatized to communicate properly, and this combination of issues creates a tradition of unspoken secrets and further separation between the characters.  

The show sets a scene that feels almost like a daydream in which you’re going through the mind of each character. With the narration mixed with real experiences of the characters, and those experiences taking place in separate time frames yet still sharing the same stage, the actors manage to intertwine the reality with the unreal, making the whole show feel almost hallucinatory.

The show continues May 3 at 10 a.m. and May 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater. Tickets cost $10 with high school or middle school ID; $12 with proof of student status or service ID; $15 General Admission.

For more details, go to the Little Theater Productions page on the LMC website at www.losmedanos.edu/drama/productions.aspx