A reading of the play “I Will Wait”, a story of sending loved ones to war based on interviews of those who’ve experienced deployments firsthand, will be performed on March 11 at 6:30PM at Celebrations in Leesville, LA (108 N. Third Street). The play is one night only, and admission is free to the public, with a suggested ticket donation of $10 per person.  

The play is being presented by the Veteran’s Spouse Project, a nonprofit dedicated to sharing the stories of military spouses through theatre and expressive arts, in conjunction with two expressive arts workshops for military spouses. The workshops will be held on March 13 and 14 and aim to create a safe space where participants can reflect on the reading and share their own stories through different creative arts materials and directives offered. 

The play, written by VSP Founder Amy Uptgraft with the assistance of Gregory Steiber, spans generations, starting in 1945 at the end of World War II and ending with spouses caught in the current cycle of war and deployments. After facing numerous deployments as a veteran Army spouse, Uptgraft began writing and journaling to sort through her own experiences. From this initial reflection grew both the play and the Veteran’s Spouse Project organization. 

To create the play, Uptgraft interviewed spouses from conflicts dating back to WWII then utilized those stories to create a space for dialogue not usually discussed – both in the media and in military households themselves. Lea Johnson, the Managing Director at VSP and an Army spouse currently stationed at Fort Polk, stated “in films, they love to show a good homecoming scene between a soldier and their spouse. ‘I Will Wait’ delivers the whole story of what those moments truly look like.” 

Uptgraft’s hope with the production is to shed light on the challenges faced by spouses and let spouses know they are not alone in their struggles. When interviewed for the Fort Polk Guardian, Uptgraft shared “Sometimes you just need to be able to say, ‘This is hard.’ I want spouses to feel like their stories are being heard. While we are smiling, wearing our shiny American flag pins, many of us are cracking from the inside out.” 

The reading will be performed by Uptgraft, military spouses from Fort Polk, and members of the local theatre community. “One of our goals is to build bridges in the communities where we bring our production” stated Johnson. 

Tickets for the reading can be purchased on Veteran’s Spouse Project’s website, www.veteransspouseproject.org. Both VSP workshops are sold out, but those interested in attending a workshop can request join the waitlist www.veteransspouseproject.org/waitlists. If you would like more information about The Veteran’s Spouse Project, please contact Lea Johnson at 910-728-5762 or email leajohnson@iwillwaitvsp.com or info@iwillwaitvsp.com.