There are not a lot of Canadians that will know first-hand about what it’s like to be a military surgeon abroad during times of conflict. With The Fighting Season, Fringe-goers can expect to at least gain an intimate glimpse at how emotionally tense and draining such a duty can be.
Inspired by the experiences of playwright Sean Harris Oliver’s father who served as a military surgeon in Afghanistan, the performance covers the similar experiences of three different Canadian forces medical personnel – specifically, an ER doctor, a medical technician and an ICU nurse.
Based on actual interviews of those who served in Afgahnistan, the performance is intentionally minimalist, mainly in the form of sit-down confessions that depend only on the power of words. According to Oliver, not only will they provide the un-glamorized, graphic details on each respective experience, but also different perspectives – from the “gung-ho” to the disillusioned.
With the performance, Oliver hopes to also shed light on the contribution the Canadian Forces have brought medically to such conflicts regardless of people’s beliefs on the validity of military presence. This is especially due to how much he was deeply affected by his father’s accounts, and felt obligated to share their nature to others. “That’s my job in the world,” said Oliver. “It’s not my job to be there first hand, but [it is] to communicate it.”