Written by Helen Benedict
Directed by William Electric Black

Athena Colon and Verna Hampton

This play premiered March 5-22, 2009 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, NYC.
It was presented by Theater for the New City in association with Electric Black Experience Productions.

La MaMa Club Theatre, 74A East 4th Street
(bet 2nd& 3rd Ave.)
Box Office 212-475-7710

SUNDAY 2/7 2:30PM

Tickets: $18 Adults/$13 for Seniors/Students/Group Sales $10-12.


This play is a dramatic treatment of Helen Benedict's book, "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq" (Beacon Press, April 2009). The playscript was developed with the dramaturgical consultation by director William Electric Black, who saw the potential for a powerful theater piece when he read the monologues Benedict had fashioned from her interviews.

The play’s monologues are all the real words of the soldiers, who will be represented by actors. All but one of the soldiers has agreed to be identified by name and none of their stories have been changed.

In "The Lonely Soldier," Helen Benedict, a professor at Columbia University, humanizes the complex issues of war, misogyny, class, race, homophobia, poet-traumatic stress disorder and more through the compelling testimonials of five women of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds who served in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. By following the women from their childhood through enlistment, training, active duty in Iraq and home again, she vividly brings to life their struggles and challenges.

The play features monologues by seven female soldiers, gathered from Benedict’s interviews and correspondence for the book. Audiences will have the thrilling experience of being face-to-face with the characters, adding the immediacy of theater to what is already a rich literary experience.

More women soldiers are fighting in Iraq than in any other American war in history, yet they face a dual challenge: They are participating on combat more than ever before, but because only one in ten soldiers is female, they are often painfully alone. This isolation, along with a military culture hostile to women, denies them the camaraderie soldiers depend on for survival and subjects them to sexual persecution by their comrades. As one soldier said, "I ended up waging my own war against an enemy dressed in the same uniform as mine."

Book cover of "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq" (Beacon Press, April 2009).
Beacon Press


Commenting on “The Lonely Soldier,” Eve Ensler has written, "It is hard to determine what is most disturbing about this book - the devious and immoral tactics used by leaders and recruiters to get women to join the military, the terrible poverty and personal violence women were escaping that lead them be vulnerable to such manipulation, the raping and harassing of women soldiers by their superiors and comrades once they got to Iraq, or the untreated homelessness, illnesses and madness that have haunted women since they came home. 'The Lonely Solider' is an important book, a crucial accounting of the shameful war on women who gave their bodies, lives and souls for their country."

On stage, the stories will be interwoven for dramatic effect and set to sound design by percussionist Jim Mussen and choreography by Jeremy Lardieri.


The March 14 performance will be followed by a talk back with the author and some of the soldiers represented in the play, followed by a reception to celebrate the book’s publication. Other post-play discussions with female veterans are being planned. There will also be a book signing party and selection of monologues from the show at La MaMa E.T.C., 74A East Fourth Street, March 17 at 8:00 pm.

Columbia Journalism School Webcast: a discussion with Helen Bendict