Capital Fringe Show Review: ‘What It’s Like? One Veteran’s Tale of Addiction, Survival and PTSD’ by Kim Moeller

The story is powerful…one marine’s experience in the Persian Gulf and his challenges with addiction, survival, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in his return to civilian life. Richard D. Graham Jr. crafted the script, What It’s Like? One Veteran’s Tale of Addiction, Survival and PTSD, based upon his life story supplemented with information from other combat veterans. Graham is also the solo performer in the drama playing at Capital Fringe Festival 2013.

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There is a power that comes from hearing a story directly from the man, himself, but some of the impact is lost with Graham’s lack of emotional range and lack of acting experience. However, as Graham tells his story in ten scenes, we ache for him and his loneliness, nightmares, substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, psychological effects, and PTSD symptoms. Ultimately, the show is about redemption as the shirt Graham wears proclaims.

All four performances, directed by Michelle A. Banks and presented by MIANBA Productions, are interpreted for guests who are deaf. ASL interpreter M. Keith Island is so expressive, I often found myself watching him during the show. Stage Manager Earl Terry and Sound & Light Technician Lance Lewis round out the production’s crew.

Kudos to Graham for his willingness to take the risk in writing and performing. He should also be applauded for his plan to help other veterans through future performances.

Running Time: 75 minutes.

What It’s Like? One Veteran’s Tale of Addiction, Survival and PTSD plays through July 27, 2013 at Goethe Institut – Main Stage, 812 7th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance times and to purchase tickets, visit the show’s Capital Fringe page.

2013 Capital Fringe Preview: ‘What It’s Like? One Veterans Tale of Addiction, Survival and PTSD’ by Richard D. Graham Jr.



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