A new kind of drama class is coming to Georgetown—only this one won’t sell tickets and perform in the Gonda Theater. Father Richard Curry, S.J., a current teacher on a course in theater and Catholic imagination, has plans to create an academy at Georgetown for disabled war veterans from Walter Reed and Bethesda that will use the dramatic monologue as a way for them to cope with their experiences in war.
“Georgetown University is the perfect place. This is a phenomenal service that the University will be able to render to these men and women,” Curry said about the program, where he will help coach veterans on their monologues while assessing their psychological needs that have resulted from serving in the war. The academy will help to transition the veterans from war life to university life, he said. Curry added that he had been inspired to do this through his work with a disabled workshop where he helped veterans from Iraq.
“During that moment of that dialectic this amazing sense of validation comes out,” Curry said. He specifically works with post traumatic stress and post traumatic stress disorder while working with military chaplains to address spiritual needs. Now, he says he is excited to show the undergraduates at Georgetown the potential that theater has to heal wounds. Once in place, Curry’s academy will assist veterans the same age as most undergraduates in the University.
But the program still faces the challenge of getting enough funding to get it off the ground. The School of Nursing, the Medical Center, the Neurology Department, and Student Services have all helped to prepare the academy and make sure that Georgetown will be an amenable campus once the veterans arrive. And a year after Curry began to work to set up the program, he remains optimistic.
“One has to lean on the virtue of hope. I believe this is the right thing to do and that I’m getting a lot of hearing on the Hill from some very good people.”