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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 25, 2011

Photos: (top right, middle left) Members of the cast of Telling: Iowa City block out lines during a rehearsal at Riverside Theatre on Oct. 18. The cast is made up of United States veterans of conflicts ranging from the Vietnam war to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan including six University of Iowa student veterans. Photos by KC McGinnis/Working Group Theatre

(bottom, left): Amanda Irish, UI Student Veterans Association president, reads lines with other cast members of Telling: Iowa City during a rehearsal at Riverside Theatre Oct. 13. Photo by Serena Collins/Working Group Theatre

UI, community groups to share Telling: Iowa City veteran performances Nov. 8-10

America has been at war for more than 10 years, but with fewer than 1 percent of the population serving in the military, veterans are largely unseen and unheard in today's society.

Telling: Iowa City hopes to change that. This unique theatrical production will bring men and women to the stage--including six University of Iowa student veterans and other Iowa veterans from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force--to share their experiences working in field hospitals in Vietnam, flying through the oil-filled skies of Desert Storm or otherwise serving in Afghanistan, North Carolina, and at the Pentagon.

Working Group Theatre, the UI Student Veterans Association, and The Telling Project are partnering to bring Telling: Iowa City to the local community.

Three free performances of Telling: Iowa City will be held on the UI campus, thanks to support from the UI Department of Theatre Arts. Those performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 8, Wednesday Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10, in the UI Theatre Building in Theatre B. All three shows at the UI will be interpreted by two American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters.

The performances last approximately 90 minutes, and there is no intermission. The location is wheelchair accessible. Though admission is free, reservations are recommended. For reservations, more information, or special accommodations to attend these performances, call 319-594-9051 or email

Telling: Iowa City will also be presented at Riverside Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday Dec. 2 and Saturday Dec. 3, and at 2 p.m. Sunday Dec. 4. Admission to these performances is $15 for the general public and $12 for student, seniors, and veterans. For reservations, call the Riverside Box Office at 319-338-7672.

The nine Iowa veterans who share the stage in Telling: Iowa City have been involved in the creation of the show from start to finish. In August, each of them sat down with writers Jonathan Wei and Jennifer Fawcett and taped a two-hour-long interview describing their experiences in the military, from enlistment, to basic training, deployment and their return to civilian life.

Wei and Fawcett then transcribed the interviews and wove the stories into the script. In September, the veterans began weekly performance training classes with Fawcett and her Working Group Theatre co-founder, Martin Andrews.

"In the following weeks, a group of nine strangers from different generations and backgrounds became a cohesive group who could stand on stage together and support each other through the telling of very personal stories, stories that for some had never been told before," Fawcett says.

This month, the cast was presented with the script and began the rehearsal process with Andrews and Fawcett. Throughout rehearsals, each cast member has worked individually with the writers to help craft his or her story, patiently explaining the many details of military life and lingo to their civilian collaborators. 

Now they're ready to take the stage, Fawcett says, to tell their stories.

UI student and veteran Debra Shattuck says, "We joined the military to get a job... and ended up finding out what a precious gift freedom is and the sacrifice it takes to ensure that freedom endures."

Performances of Telling: Iowa City are sponsored by grants from the following: Humanities Iowa/The National Endowment for the Humanities; the American Legion of Iowa Foundation; and Rockwell Collins. The UI Chief Diversity Office, the UI Center for Human Rights in International Programs, the UI School of Social Work, UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and UI Department of History, all in CLAS, and UI Student Disability Services are providing additional support.

The Telling Project, created by Wei, is a national program that works with communities and organizations to produce these innovative performance in which military veterans and their family members, after interviews and subsequent training and rehearsal, stage the 'telling' of their stories for their communities. For more information, visit

Working Group Theatre was founded by three UI Theatre Department graduates: Sean Lewis, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in playwriting, 2007; Jennifer Fawcett, MFA in playwriting, 2008; and Martin Andrews, MFA in acting, 2009. For more information, visit

Fawcett and Shattuck will also be guests on the UI International Programs' WorldCanvass television and radio program with the theme "Being the Other" from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday Nov. 11, in the Senate Chamber of Old Capitol Museum. They will talk about Telling: Iowa City and about Shattuck's personal story as a member of the military. For more information, visit

Following are the biographies of veterans performing in Telling: Iowa City including six UI student veterans as well as members of the community.

Christopher Deyo, Monmouth Beach, N.J.
U.S. Air Force, 2006-2011
Deyo is an honorably separated staff sergeant from the U.S. Air Force. He was deployed as a life support technician in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Deyo is a transfer student at the UI and is pursuing a degree in pre-medicine. He hopes to attend medical school.

Joe Gasperetti, Milwaukee, Wis.
(U.S. Army, 1966-1968)
Gasperetti served with the 4th Infantry Division in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1966-67 in combat operations near Tuy Hoa, along the South China Sea, and the Central Highlands around Pleiku, near the Ho Chi Minh Trail. To bring closure to his experiences with the war, he wrote a novel, Landon's Odyssey (2008), which is an historical fiction piece about one man's epic journey through time and space during the turbulent 60s, both here at home and in Southeast Asia.

Theodore John, Minneapolis, Minn.
U.S. Marine Corps, 1986-1992
John was a helicopter electrician on CH-53A/D/E cargo helicopters with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462. John was primarily stationed in Tustin, Calif., but did two, six-month tours to Okinawa, Japan, and spent a month in the Philippines during both of those tours. In Aug. 1990, John was deployed with his unit to Saudi Arabia to serve in Desert Storm/Desert Shield. John is currently studying actuarial science and mathematics at the UI.

Amanda Irish, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
U.S. Marine Corps, 2002-2006
Irish served the U.S. Marine Corps in the following locations: Parris Island, S.C., Camp Lejeune, N.C., Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Beaufort, S.C., Memphis, Tenn., Nashville, Tenn., and Camp Lejeune, N.C. She is studying human physiology at the UI and hopes to attend medical school. Irish is currently president of the UI Student Veterans Association.

Charles Lynch, Iowa City
(U.S. Army, 1968-1971)
Lynch, RN, MBA, will make his debut on stage with this production. His U.S. Army service began in 1969 at the Brooke Medical Center in Texas and continued in Vietnam with the 45th Medical Unit, Self Contained, Transportable (MUST) and 629th Renal Dialysis Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He is the outreach specialist for the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and helps returning war veterans access care and services.

Scott Lyon, Des Moines, Iowa
U.S. Marine Corps, 2001-2005
Lyon joined the Marines in 2001, and served with Marine Corps Security Force Company Bangor in Washington state from 2002 to 2004, and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines in Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Air Ramadi, Iraq, from 2004 to 2005. Lyon graduated with a degree in journalism from the UI, and is currently a third year law student at the UI College of Law and vice president of the UI Veterans Association.

Randy Miller, Waterloo, Iowa
U.S. Navy, 1973-1975
Miller is a UI student currently studying therapeutic recreation at the UI. Miller enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1973 right after high school. Soon after his advanced specialized training, he sustained an injury that left him unable to continue serving his country. He now tries to do what he can to serve his fellow veterans instead. To achieve this, he is majoring in therapeutic recreation at the UI, with the intent to work at a military or VA hospital where he can help the newly injured veterans coming home. He is currently a senior, or what he usually describes as a "senior senior."

David Miner, Waterloo, Iowa
(U.S. Army, 1988-1996)
Miner, currently of Waterloo, Iowa, joined the army and fought in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. After the war, he remained in the army stationed at Ft. Hood, Panama, Ft. Bliss, Nuremberg, and Wurzburg in Germany; Miner finished his career at Fort Hood where he was honorably discharged after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Debra Shattuck, Vermillion, Ohio
U.S. Air Force, 1983-2008
During Shattuck's 25-plus years career, she served at numerous bases and in a variety of roles, ranging from aircraft maintenance teaching and logistics staff officer, serving both in the U.S. and overseas. In 1998, Shattuck assumed command of the 62d Aircraft Generation Squadron at McChord Air Base in Tacoma, Wash. After that assignment, Shattuck earned a second master's degree at the Industrial College of Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington D.C., and became a staff officer in the Logistics Directorate of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Shattuck was in the Pentagon when the terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. From 2003 to 2004, she served in Korea, and then returned to Albuquerque, N.M. Shattuck's final move was to Rapid City, S.D. where she commanded the 28th Maintenance Group until she retired in Feb. 2008. Shattuck is currently a doctoral student in history at the UI.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to interview one of the veterans, contact Fawcett at 319-594-9051 or Lois J. Gray with University News Services at 319-384-0077.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jennifer Fawcett, Working Group Theatre, 319-594-9051;; John Mikelson, UI Veterans Center, 319-384-2020,; Lois Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer, Betsy Bates