Veterans Day was yesterday, but that doesn’t mean the storyline stops.
Actor and Hoboken resident Douglas Taurel can tell you that the combat veteran carries the burdens of war for a lifetime. His one-man show, “The American Soldier: 1774-2015” examines the emotional weight of combat, based on real stories and accounts gleaned from soldiers’ letters written during the American Revolution through present-day Afghanistan. The show runs at the Midtown International Theatre Festival next week, Nov. 18, 20 & 22.
“As an actor I am always looking for ways to tell stories,” says Taurel. “I am also very fascinated by history and the wars that have shaped America—so choosing to share stories of veterans and their journeys in war connected to me.”
The variety of characters can be exceptionally challenging. Considering the depth and breadth of Taurel’s subject matter, spanning the entirety of our nation’s military history, it takes a lot to effectively convey the voice of each individual soldier or family member portrayed.
“I wanted to say thank you and continue to help raise awareness of all of the sacrifice that has been made by our veterans and their families. Some of the pieces are extremely emotional and demand a high level of commitment and vulnerability,” says Taurel. “For example, I play a mother who leaves a letter for her deceased son at the Vietnam Wall once a year, and that piece is quite emotional.”
As we should all know by now, the impact of combat resonates far beyond the battlefield. A recent story in The New York Times explores the alarming human cost of war, once troops return home.
“Two major themes that I try to touch upon are PTSD and the sacrifice soldiers and their families make for the country,” says Taurel. “I have never served in the armed forces but I have a sister in the army, two nieces who have done tours both in Afghanistan and Iraq and a nephew who just became a Marine. I hope they come away with how much admiration and appreciation I have for them and the sacrifices they have given for our freedoms.”
Taurel has been a Hoboken resident for 15 years. “I am originally from Houston, Texas and I missed do miss my home state a lot, but I have fallen in love with Hoboken. My wife and I have chosen to stay and raise our two children here. I just love the home town feel of Hoboken.”
With that in mind, there’s a chance for a potential performance here in town.
“I met John Carey from the Hoboken American Legion at a block party fundraiser on 2nd Street,” said Taurel. “I mentioned to him that I would like to perform it for the Legion and perhaps try to find a way to use the show to help raise money for their new building. Right now we have my show penciled in for three performances in May.”