Albatross

by Fred Schmidt-Arenales

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1.
08:39
2.
32:26
3.

about

Here are three tracks, three different ways of addressing a subject: the return of United States soldiers from the current and recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Track 1, Over There, is a survey of scenes from recent American war movies. It acts as a preface to Albatross. Each scene depicts, in different contexts, the dilemma of whether to take enemy soldiers as POWs or kill them. Movies are the most visible images of war, and I think they are accepted as accurate images (even, I think, Inglorious Bastards, in some kind of preconscious way). So I re-present them here as a reminder, and to ask the question: is this the kind of experience we assume veterans had when they were “over there”? Or what else?

Track 2 is Albatross, a piece for radio written between December 2014 and March 2015. It is a fictional foray into the life of an American soldier returning from combat service in Iraq. Central to this piece is the very real impossibility of understanding what soldiers (or people who spend time in combat zones) go through but Albatross refuses to succumb to the impossibility of knowing. A lack of understanding does not widen the gap between soldiers and the “rest of us” but provides an alternative mode of addressing veterans of war: one of recognition and of acknowledging distance. The goal is not necessarily to transcend this distance, but to interrogate the assumptions that can widen it unnecessarily.

Track 3, Screenplay for a Short Film is a “supplementary text” to Albatross and another way of visualizing an event.

credits

released June 1, 2015

Albatross reading:
T – Matt Doyle
M – Emily Jane Rosen
TWO – Mallory Wedding

Drum Interludes – Matt Doyle

Audio Producer and Engineer – Adam Gunther
Recorded at Excello Sound

Screenplay for a Short Film reading:
Sarah Mendelsohn

All:
Written by Sarah Mendelsohn and Fred Schmidt-Arenales

Directed by Fred Schmidt-Arenales

Thanks to Regards Gallery, Chicago, Pieter Performance Space, Los Angeles, and Chelsea Knight and Abrons Arts Center, New York for hosting readings. Also thanks to KCHUNG, Los Angeles and Version Fest, Chicago for broadcasting previous iterations of Albatross.

Track 1, Over There, includes material from the films Saving Private Ryan (1998), Lone Survivor (2013), and Inglorious Basterds (2009).

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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