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Welton Adams – ‘Soldier with a Secret’


CHANGE is a project focused on getting more minority actors onto SWFL stages in culturally relevant productions. Made possible by a grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Alliance for the Arts wrapped up its inaugural 9-week acting course with a graduation production of George Wolfe’s edgy The Colored Museum. Among the 11 graduates was Welton Adams.

The Colored Museum consists of a series of vignettes that challenge the stereotypes that have been thrust upon and adopted by African-Americans over the centuries. Perhaps none is as chilling as the monologue Adams delivered in the vignette titled “Soldier with a Secret.”

In it, Adams discloses that he was killed in an explosion while on patrol with his unit in Vietnam. But his spirit didn’t cross over. Instead, it remained on the battlefield, and when he looked into the faces of his comrades, he saw that “each was wearin’ a piece of the future.”

Theirs was to be a painful future, full of death and dying. And then a voice said to him, “Junie, these colored boys ain’t gonna be the same after this war. They ain’t gonna have no kind of happiness.”

And as an act of mercy, Junie killed each of his friends, one after another, to spare them the pain that lied ahead.

While playwright George Wolfe leaves it to the audience to draw their own meaning from this short, stark vignette, the same misery of war clearly continues through campaigns such as Iraq and Afghanistan as evidenced by the astronomical rates of PTSD and suicide among active duty and former soldiers. But research conducted with ethnic minority veterans of the war in Vietnam, although not entirely consistent, indicate that that most African-American and Hispanic veterans experience higher rates of PTSD than their white counterparts (28% for Hispanics, 21% for African-Americans and 14% for whites).

Welton Adams is an IT worker by day and a comedian by night. Participating in the Alliance’s inaugural CHANGE class has encouraged him to “take my time reading and feeling every word, be able to act myself in front of strangers and having a before moment that sets the mood to your script.

August 23, 2018.




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