Director Doug Wager spoke at Temple about the play “In Conflict,” which premiered at Temple last year and is a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.
Three years ago, journalist Yvonne Latty met with a selection of returned Iraq soldiers and interviewed them about their experiences. Her interviews were then made into “In Conflict.” Wager, the director of the play, spoke at Ralph Young’s weekly teach-in on Friday to answer questions about the production and to ensure that students grasp the goal Latty set out for.
Wager said the goal of the play is to respond to the growing indifference the people of this generation have to the war in Iraq. The play allows people to see the other side of the war.
“There is very little overt reaction to what’s happened to the people who are actually fighting the war,” said Wager, who is also the artistic director and head of directing for Temple’s School of Communications and Theater. “They’re just people that want to justify what they’ve done.”
He compared current soldiers’ experiences to those of his own when he served in the Vietnam War. That, he said, was another foreign affair many Americans thought was unjust. Wager added that working on this project with Latty has shown him and everyone else involved the importance of relaying these soldiers’ stories.
“The play is not about the war. It is about the conflict of being in the war,” Wager said when asked exactly how a theatrical production was going to educate people on the war while at the same time shying away from politics.
Although it may sound like a conundrum, actually seeing this play will bring it all into focus, Wager said.
Students at the teach-in said both the play and talking to Wager affected how they think.
“If anything, it made me think more so that war is never worth it,” Emily Daubert, a sophomore music education and voice major, said. “I was thinking before I saw it how you can never put a price on one person’s friend or father or son or mother. I don’t know if it can ever be worth it.”