Ghosts of War


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Ryan Smithson was a typical 16-year-old high-school student until 9/11. “I’d thought about joining the military the moment I saw the towers fall,” he relates in this profoundly moving theatrical production. Smithson enlisted in the Army Reserve the following year and, a year into the Iraq war, was deployed to an Army engineer unit as a heavy-equipment operator. His poignant, often harrowing account, especially vivid in sensory details, chronicles his experiences in basic training and his tour of duty in Iraq. He lucidly recounts the intensity of battle and the pain of losing comrades. For Smithson, the war is a source of personal enlightenment, and this story vividly brought to life on stage is a remarkable, deeply penetrating personal account that will compel teens to reflect on their own thoughts about duty, patriotism and sacrifice. To enhance the theatrical experience of the play all performances are followed by a post-play discussion. Presenters may also request an in-school residency or workshops.

GHOSTS OF WAR is a powerful memoir that will teach young people about the importance of volunteerism in their community and beyond. They will learn to not just think about the way they can change the world, or how they wish it could be, but to be a part of the change they wish to see in the world.

Adapted for the stage by William Massolia from the Novel by Ryan Smithson

Ghosts of War edit 1 - Copy

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