In days of old our heroes were warriors, King Arthur, Winston Churchill, General George Patton…the heroes of our fathers and ourselves. But nowadays our heroes are often movie stars, Robert Shaw, Robert Redford, Robert Hardy, Katharine Hepburn and Stephen Lang. Stephen Lang, now there is a hero movie star, and he has let us know his heroes. The Medal of Honor Recipients he portrays in “Beyond Glory” must be his heroes. Larry Smith’s book “Beyond Glory” contains the personal stories of 23 Medal of Honor Recipients in their own words. Stephen Lang created the one man show “Beyond Glory” in which he tells eight of these stories from the actual heroes. In their words, each story comes to life giving us a glimpse into their lives, their hopes and dreams, but most of all their sacrifice.
Stephen Lang is a gifted actor in both plays and movies, with such movie hits as “Avatar” “Tombstone” (Law don’t go ‘round here, savvy”) and numerous other movies. On stage, he originated the role of Col. Nathan Jessup in “A Few Good Men” played by Jack Nicholson in the movie. He has played a number of generals and colonels in his career in television, film and on stage, so bringing “Beyond Glory” to the stage is a natural fit and he does it well. Medal of Honor Recipients are usually not commanding officers, at least not when they are moved to the heroism that they are cited for, but they all seem to be natural leaders. Men who love their country and their fellow man greater than they love themselves. Lang becomes each soldier as he shares each story of uncommon valor bursting from the hearts of common boys. Many are gone and many of those who are left are old men now, and their memory of unbelievable events is etched into their psyches. Often, though, it is hard for them to share, but Lang brings these men to life, and their stories become part of us, as we see honest bravery from these once young warriors. With Lang, we grow to love them because their sacrifice is for their country, for their families, and for our freedom.
Lang has a dynamic delivery representing each character with honesty and integrity. Lang becomes each hero at the core, giving their words strength, conviction and sometimes a great sadness. There are moments of great rage as well as sorrow in the memories of these brave men. They are our true heroes. Lang introduces us to men who deserve more than a medal. They deserve our hearts. Interestingly, each warrior receiving the highest honor from the United States of America is filled with humility, and Lang displays that humility superbly. With Lang’s performance American’s can relate to these men who were, in their youth, just regular guys, guys like you and me, and those guys gave up so much for us that we are all inspired to earn their respect. We are living the dream because of their nightmare. It is time to recognize these heroes as we remember their buddies and our sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, husbands and wives who are equally brave and committed.
This Veterans Day, November 11, 2018, eight beautifully inspired stories will come to us courtesy of Stephen Lang’s exceptional talent. Oklahoma City Community College and Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, (OCCC and CityRep) brings Stephen Lang’s excellent adaptation of “Beyond Glory” to the OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center on the OCCC campus. The address is 7777 South May Avenue and the performance time is 2:00 pm on a glorious Sunday afternoon. Tickets for “Beyond Glory” may be purchased by calling the Oklahoma City Community College’s Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater at (405) 682-7579 or online at www.cityrep.com. “Beyond Glory” is made most glorious by Stephen Lang as we remember our own. These boys belong to us, along with those who were born to us, alongside those we lost, and those we have found again in love and glory. Our true heroes: “BEYOND GLORY”