Aggies Lana Timbs, a senior communications major and journalism minor, and Phillip Garner, a senior English major, talk about their work on “Telling Aggieland,” an innovative performance inspired by military veterans and their family members sharing their stories and experiences of war.
The project shares the unique stories of Aggie veterans and their family members in a play called “Telling Aggieland.” It will be performed at 7 p.m. on April 29, 30 and May 1 in Rudder Theater and tickets are free and available at the MSC Box Office.
Proud to Tell Aggieland By: Lana Timbs
I am an Aggie senior. I am a mother. I am also a veteran of the United States Navy. The past couple of months I have been practicing to tell my story to Aggieland.
As the dates of the performances approach, I wait in anticipation to see the audience’s reactions as myself, along with other veterans and military family members, rehearse our stories to share with the Aggieland community.
“Telling Aggieland” is a play written by Jonathan Wei, the founder of The Telling Project. According to the mission statement, “The Telling Project works to deepen our understanding of the military and veterans” experience.” And in the spirit of that mission statement, that is exactly what fellow cast members and I are anxious to share through our personal military experiences.
I remember getting the script for the first time. As I read through it, emotions overtook me. I laughed. I cried. I had feelings of nostalgia and tons of memories of nine years of service resurfaced. Even though I have read, and re-read the script dozens of times, and have heard the other cast members rehearsing it, I am still overwhelmed with strong emotions because I can relate to each and every story. No matter if you have served in the United States military or not, these stories are humanly relatable, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
It has been a real honor to be part of “Telling Aggieland” thus far. I have learned a lot about the other performers and from the theater staff, Dr. Michael Greenwald (Theater and Performing Arts professor) and Betsy Hardi (graduate student and stage production manager.) I have truly enjoyed my time spent with them. I feel that this play is being done for great reasons and hope that the community and other student Aggies will learn a lot from it.
When I heard of the project, I knew I wanted in by Phillip Garner
From the moment Col. Smith explained the Telling Project at a meeting last fall, I knew I wanted in. A play, written by veterans, based on veterans’ lives, acted by veterans; this has to be awesome. Texas A&M, as a people have accepted us graciously, but rarely understood us. This was our chance to tell our story.
While The Telling Project is not an Aggie invention, we quickly made it our own. With Mr. Jonathan Wei guiding the process, we took the raw stories of military life and transformed them into a cohesive, engaging work of art that, even while making it, was an emotional roller coaster. For me, this was a reminder that I am not alone. Regardless of the branch they served, I found my own tale echoed in that of marines, airmen, sailors and soldiers. Not just any service members, though; these are all fellow Aggies, as well.
As one of the writers for Telling Aggieland, my role was to listen to the stories of local veterans and find that common experience that we have trouble explaining to our friends, families and coworkers. It was a bit of a daunting task. There’s something almost sacred in taking on someone’s personal successes and losses and making a relatable story from them. The most incredible part has been that, while I hoped to impact the audience, I wasn’t prepared for the impact it has had on me. Being part of the project has given me a renewed sense of camaraderie, hearing from people who have been through some of the same things I have, who struggle with “normal civilian” life the way I do.
I hope everyone will come out the last weekend in April to share in the laughs, pains and victories of The Telling Project: Telling Aggieland.