From Chris Kawolsky, Producing Director
Downstairs Cabaret Theatre:
AMAZING response… tears… great discussions… people telling their stories… lots of folks sticking around to meet Tom.
Hearing the effects to this day of his film… ‘Dear America : Letters Home from Vietnam’… pretty effecting….
It is gripping… tense… yet tender… healing… inspiring… eye opening… harrowing… with some lighter moments as well.
True story. Real events. Real tough situations….
Pain… regret… questioning of orders… and actions… and politics….
Questioning of humanity… what things man can do to man… and the hero’s who walk among us… sometimes “just doing their jobs.”
Overused sometimes… but Heroic fits here.
Tom Bird’s efforts for other Vets… is perhaps a by-product from what he learned from his dad and others… but the influence of a father is clear here in this story…. and makes us all value those types of relationships and life lessons a little more.
Relationships with fathers can be complicated at times…..as evident in this piece… and fathers aren’t always perfect….
This piece is real… and raw… yet completely worthwhile.
From Harriette Knight:
“Tom, I wanted to let you know how moved I was yesterday by your piece.
Moved to tears.
It is an excellent piece that I think should be performed for all, and especially Jewish organizations and schools.
What an important piece of work!
You are doing a mitzvah by telling the story.
You know the story so well, just keep telling it from the heart.
It is stories like this that help us Never Forget.
Many blessings and love, Harriette.”
From John Paul Coakley:
“T-Bird, it was an honor to be there yesterday . Because of being there for two previous readings of the piece I was familiar with the Text & Script and it is of course very moving . What I really enjoyed yesterday was your physical performance .You were acutely present , in your body and you brought the text to life . I really enjoyed your stage movements and choices which were simple and what made it flow so well . All I can say is Bravo and I can’t wait to see the full production with all the window dressing.
Much Love & Success, John Paul.”
From RJ Bond:
“Tommy, sorry to have left after the show, but I figured you had a lot of folks to talk to and that I’d like to convey my thoughts to you on paper, so to speak.
First off, what an undertaking. To tell the story of your
Fathers’ experience and who he was and what he meant to you in such a personal way is an honorable and couragegous act of love. I’m sure he would be proud. I salute you Tommy.
Secondly, the manner in which you weave the story of the “Camp” and your experiences in Viet Nam together by use of the narrative about your Father is extraordinary. You brought the issues to the fore that speak directly to the human condition. It was and is engaging, but I must admit, at times I was uncomfortable, stirred and afterwards, very thoughtful. The themes of guilt, shame, confusion, doubt, pride and patriotism are powerful issues all of us share. Thank you for expressing with us your experiences in a manner that demands attention and brings clarity.
And finally, I expect that on your journey forward with ‘Bearing Witness’ more of you will be explored and discoverd. And the love you have in your heart for the universal soilder will be heard and help heal the wounds of many.
Keep the fight in your eyes!
God Bless ya, my Brother… R J.”
From Fred Mancuso:
“I would shoot it.
Let me know if I can help in that format in any way. I have a production company that could handle it very lean but professional. Let me know.
Traveling around to do this live… great.
But consider hope many people you can touch filming it. Ill send you a production reel.
Love you Man, Fred.”
From Judy Joy Weidenborner and Gary Shaw:
“I just want to let you know that my boyfriend and I attended Bearing Witness on Veteran’s Day, and we were both deeply moved by the performance.
I know there are many people who don’t wish to talk about their experiences after returning from war, and after seeing this show,
I can see why that is the case, and I admire the actor so much for being willing to share such painful memories.”
From Rhea Feinberg: