MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
More than 200 Marines and sailors gathered at the base theater during “Rum and Vodka,” an Outside the Wire production, which aims to create awareness of social health issues, May 17.
Rum and Vodka held at the base theater was far from a taste testing. It is modern training geared to educate Marines and sailors on alcohol and substance abuse.
Through a play written by Conor McPherson and actively ready by an Outside the Wire actor, Brendan Griffin, the crowd was sparked to get involved when he read out problems of a married 24-year-old Irishman, with two young children, a job, bills and a drinking problem. The story depicts his three-day bender, consisting of wasteful spending while bar hopping and sleeping with another woman.
The Irishman chose alcohol consumption to relieve himself of the life stresses he was experiencing. His story pointed out that alcohol only made everything worse.
During the 90-minute program, Rum and Vodka aimed to interact with the Marines and sailors present at the base theater. After Griffin finished reading Conor McPherson’s play, a panel of a Marine warrant officer, petty officer first class and the substance abuse counselor for Marine Corps Base Hawaii talked about their experiences dealing with alcohol abuse. After each of the three panel members spoke, audience members shared their thoughts on McPherson’s play and the panel’s comments.
Bryan Doerries, the artistic director of Rum and Vodka, facilitated audience participation by asking them questions about the production.
“Every Marine has a bright future but when they abuse alcohol or other substances, they rob themselves of everything they worked so hard to get,” said panelist Jaime Gutierrez, the substance abuse counselor for Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “Rum and Vodka showed Marines how alcohol abuse makes multiple problems for themselves.”
Marines and sailors offered their opinions and answered questions about the play. Audience members also engaged in dialogue among each other.
“I realized that if I ever think I have a drinking problem, then I probably do,” said Lance Cpl. Zachary Neuharth, an intelligence specialist with Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment and native of Courtland, Calif. “Everyone should rethink their drinking habits because over time it could affect them and others around them.”
Junior Marines hold the power to the Marines Corps’ future views on alcohol and substance abuse, Doerries said. Allowing each Marine the ability to converse on the effects of alcohol and substances, gives everyone in the room an eye opener to how serious the topic is.
The Marine Corps is still testing Rum and Vodka to see its’ effectiveness on Marines.
The production was presented to seven other bases before performing two shows at MCB Hawaii. Upcoming shows are scheduled at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point N.C.
“The whole tour has gone extremely well,” Doerries said. “The response we are getting is great and we look forward to the opportunity to continue our shows for all branches of military.”