The Heroes Journey, a Riverview-based 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is helping veterans find their voice and tell their story, is staging two final performances of the play Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret on Wednesday and Thursday, December 6-7 at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center, located at 8550 Hunters Village Rd. in Tampa. Each performance runs from 7-10 p.m., and tickets are still available at www.eventbrite.com.
Penned by and starring Riverview resident retired Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a former U.S. Army Green Beret who specialized in unconventional, high-impact special operations missions all over the globe in a distinguished 23-year military career, the goal of the play, as told by combat veterans and military family members, is to heal the wounds of war.
Last Out tells the story of a Green Beret trapped between his family obligations and his mission in Afghanistan as he struggles to ascend to the mythical warrior afterlife of Valhalla after being hit with a roadside bomb. It isn’t just a play; it’s a live example of the transformative power of storytelling and how you can tell your story in the service of others.
From Veterans Day 2018 to January 2020, Mann’s team traveled 28,000 miles visiting 16 cities and logging over 40 performances across America, then, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, Mann decided to take his cast and crew took to the studio and created Last Out: The Film in 2021, currently available on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
The tour hit the road again in 2023 to play in nine cities, sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation, and is holding the year-end gala event to raise money to help take the play to even more cities in 2024. A deep authenticity goes with having an all-veteran and military family member cast tell the story of modern war, now seen in over 30 cities countrywide with post-traumatic stress interventions held in the lobby for any warrior that would like to tell their story.
“You’re enlightened to the experience of what our men and women do in service,” said Gary Sinise, the well-known actor from far too many films and shows to list.
“This really speaks to something very profound and very special, and very important, and it’s educational for people to see what our current day warriors are going through post-service.”
Mann also recently had the opportunity to share his thoughts with Mike Rowe on Rowe’s popular podcast, The Way I Heard It, aired appropriately this past 9/11 (episode 344). Mann sat down with Rowe and spoke in detail about his past, the play and what he hopes to accomplish for his fellow warriors going forward, as can be heard in his “It’s a Wonderful Life with Body Armor” podcast episode found at https://mikerowe.com/podcast.
“Storytelling is how we move from where we were to where we are now and where we’re going. Storytelling is how we heal, how we validate, how we inform and how we reconnect,” said Mann, who hopes that by encouraging veterans and families to tell their stories, others can have an emotional connection to the challenges of war. “Yes, some of it’s hard, but it’s the stuff we lived, and those experiences need to be shared with the country so we can learn from them, and hopefully our kids don’t go down the same path we did.”
The Heroes Journey is on a mission to inspire 10 million veterans and military family members to embrace the value of their own stories by 2030 through workshops, books and online courses on therapeutic storytelling, narrative competence and the performing arts. Please join The Heroes Journey in its fight to help warriors find their voice through purposeful storytelling. Donations at any level can help make a great difference to our warriors in a time of crisis.
For more information about The Heroes Journey, visit www.facebook.com/theheroesjourney.org or https://theheroesjourney.org. For the Last Out play, visit https://lastoutplay.com. To see the film, visit www.amazon.com/last-out-scott-mann/dp/b09x94q5cs. To learn more about Mann, visit https://scottmann.com.