Review: SmallWaR fails to impress during Ceasefire Series

An intimate look at the man-on-the-ground told by one performer projected five times over.

Created and performed by Valentijn Dhaenens, SmallWaR employs technology to bring life stories and verbatim reflections from soldiers and nurses in WWI to audiences. Screens were used to project multiple images of Dhaenens at different stages of wartime. Within an hour, audiences experienced issues of lost love, nostalgia, religion, sexism, and PTSD.

Unfortunately, these stories rarely connected with me to produce the emotional reactions or the quiet, poignant reflection it clearly intended. By focusing on the time spent waiting, circling through thoughts in one’s own mind, it felt too philosophized.

SmallWaR rarely became tangible and failed to move or feel like a real story. Although I recognized the goal of expressing the horrors of war immediately, it never fully came to life or developed that subject.

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