Afghanistan/Wisconsin Cast List

Written by Appleton North High School alum Laurel McKenzie

  • April 27, 28, 29 at 7:30 PM
  • April 29, 30 at 12:30 PM
  • Admission is $5.00.
  • Veterans with military ID’s are free.
  • All proceeds from the performances will go to benefit the Fox Valley Veterans Council.

The Appleton North High School theatre department will present its spring production, AFGHANISTAN/WISCONSIN: A VERBATIM THEATRE PROJECT, April 27-30 in the North auditorium.  Written by North alumnus, Laurel McKenzie, AFGHANISTAN/WISCONSIN is composed directly from interviews with Wisconsin veterans who served during Operation Enduring Freedom. The play threads together eleven unique narratives from before, during, and after service. They share stories about heartbreak and joy, pain and pride, and most essentially, about what gives them hope for the future. From their enlistment to their return home, these women and men speak up about what has changed within themselves, as well as what has changed about the country they fought for. North theatre director, Ron Parker, stated, “The original play had its debut two years ago at Carthage College when Laurel was a senior. Since then it has received several honors including a Distinguished Production of a New Work Award at the Kennedy Center’s national festival in Washington DC. and most recently, a reading at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in conjunction with their production of Grounded.  I commissioned her to create a “high school” version for us to premiere.  This version differs little from the original except that it is slightly shorter in length and has been edited for explicit language.  The stories—told in the veterans’ own words—have not changed in their content or truthfulness.  We are very excited to present the world premiere of this version of Laurel’s work.   Not only does it provide us with an opportunity to spotlight the success of one of our graduates, but it gives us the chance to present this very important,   moving and powerful piece of theatre to our community.”  

AFGHANISTAN/WISCONSIN is written in the style of “verbatim theatre” which is defined as a form of documentary theatre in which plays are constructed from the precise words spoken by people interviewed about a particular event or topic.  The playwright interviewed veterans both local to the Wisconsin area and with Wisconsin roots across the country to obtain the transcripts that would later become the show.  As a result, the play presents a sincere and completely honest portrayal of what it means to be a soldier during what has been called “the longest war in American history.”

Performance times are April 27th, 28th, 29th at 7:30 p.m. and April 29th and 30th at 12:30 p.m.  Admission is $5.00. Veterans with military ID’s are free.  All proceeds from the performances will go to benefit the Fox Valley Veterans Council.  Tickets are available from the box office at North from 3:30-5:30 on Monday, April 25th and Thursday, April 27th.  Tickets are also available at the door one hour before performance time.  Seating is limited to 130 per show.  

A special post-performance talkback will be offered from 2:30-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 29th following the afternoon performance and is open to the public.   The talk back will feature the cast members and playwright as well as a panel of local veterans who participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. 

“It is our hope,” stated Parker, “that this play will give voice to those from our own state who served in Afghanistan and to showcase their sacrifices and struggles both over there and here.  The stories told on stage are really the stories of all veterans, and the students are honored to have the opportunity to share them.”  Further information can be obtained by contacting Parker at parkerronaldc@aasd.k12.wi.us .

Tech Calendar


Tune in to 91.1 The Avenue to hear Tara Pohlkotte interview members of the cast of Afghanistan/Wisconsin during her Storycatchers segment at 11:00 AM on Saturday, April 15 and re-aired on Sunday, April 16 at 8:00 PM.