Military people disagreed with reviewer’s interpretation


Colin Thomas describes Sandi Johnson’s People Like Us as “a long, predictable complaint” [“ Lament from a war wife lacks narrative pull”, November 14-21]. How did he miss the fact that Kate Rourke was filled with purpose? When faced with the loss of everything that mattered—her husband, Gerry, and their life together—she stood up to each loss with courage. Consequently, actor Sarah Louise Turner had many different emotions to play.

Thomas says he felt the inclusion of Bach and the Road to Basra did not move the story forward. It’s essential to the narrative that Gerry talks about the Road to Basra. The perspective shifts; he reveals being haunted by the fact that the U.S. military broke the goddamned law. This is also where their mutual perspective changed. Always loyal to the military, this loyalty changed as Kate realized they were being treated as collateral damage.

The belly dance scenes were much more than theatricality. Perhaps Thomas doesn’t understand that the human spirit needs beauty, that people dance to save themselves.

He goes on to say that Kate talked in circles. She advocated for her husband and others; she questioned the lies; she told her husband’s story in the legislature. These are victories, yet he dismissively says there was no victory.

Military people found my play authentic; they asked how I got it so right.

Audiences found People Like Us powerful, mesmerizing; people wept. It is unfortunate that Thomas does not value this type of storytelling in the theatre.

> Sandi Johnson /Salt Spring Island

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