Play tells story of local veterans in WWII

WARREN — While looking for a local veteran on whom to base her play, Melisa Trickett found the story of U.S. Navy veterans, Peter and Julia Bevelaqua of Warren.

“In the Midst of War” provides a fictional account of how the war affected the husband and wife and how a couple found love “in the midst of war,”said Trickett of Berlin Center, who wrote, directed and cast the play.

The vignette-style play opens with Julia telling the story of her life through flashback scenes. In the first flashback, a teenage Julia meets a teenage Peter at a bowling alley in Warren.

“This is before they even knew they would fall in love,” Trickett said.

In the next scene, Peter joins the Navy. With all four of Julia’s older brothers unable to be drafted into the military because of their age and contribution to the steel mills, Trickett said Julia decided to enlist into the Navy.

The play goes on to show the couple losing contact with each other while serving, but when Peter returns home, they meet again, fall in love and marry.

The last flashback scene is set in the 1960s after the couple had been married for quite some time. Peter, who doesn’t talk about the war, wakes up late at night after he’s had a nightmare and the two talk about their time in the war. The play ends with Julia talking about how proud she is of Peter and her time serving.

The play will premiere at the second annual “Pearl Harbor and Beyond” event Thursday at Kent State University at Trumbull. The event commemorates the anniversary of the attack. It begins at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

“Often when you honor something, it’s the same ceremony every year,” Trickett said. “To bring (the event) back with a new play this year about two local veterans makes it more special than the pomp and circumstance that’s been done before.”

Trickett also wrote and directed a short play, “A Family’s Pearl Harbor,” at the inaugural ceremony last year, the 75th anniversary of the attack.

In addition, footage and pictures from the attack will be shown before the event. During, there will be vocal music, and Gianna Jones, a senior at Warren G. Harding High School, will present her Voice of Democracy speech, “American History, Our Hope for the Future.”

The Civil Air Patrol Squadron Honor Guard from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station will post and retire the colors. Tribune Chronicle Publisher Charles Jarvis will moderate the event.

The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available through the Tribune Chronicle by calling Sue Shafer, Tribune Chronicle community events coordinator, at 330-841-1696 or by stopping by the newspaper office, 240 Franklin St. SE, between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is a limit of four tickets per person.

The event will be in the auditorium in the administration building at KSU Trumbull, 4314 Mahoning Ave. NW. The auditorium is handicap-accessible.