Theater preview: "Forbidden Zones: The Great War"

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
“Forbidden Zones: The Great War”

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States' official entry into World War I. This date falls in the midst of the run of “Forbidden Zones: The Great War” by the Ohio State University Department of Theatre. This new work, conceived and directed by OSU theatre professor Lesley Ferris, is verbatim theater, using first-person accounts (letters, books and other archives) as well as art and music to tell the story of people at the heart of the conflict – the heiress who built and operated a hospital for the French military, the doctor using new Freudian techniques to treat combatants facing shell shock, two deserting soldiers, an African-American nurse and more.

“Forbidden Zones” provides touchpoints to the actual lives of those most intimately impacted by the war. “There are multiple narratives,” Ferris said. “It's like a wonderful, multi-colored quilt that zeros in on a panel and then pulls out.”

The play does provide some broader, big-picture inspection, as well. “One of the themes is questioning just what war is, and why do we do this,” Ferris said. “There was a lot of that in the material that we looked at. It sort of arose naturally, and we didn't want to ignore it.”

Roy Bowen Theatre

March 29-April 9

1849 Cannon Dr., Campus