Connect with us


Outcast Theatre goes ‘Beyond Glory’ for Memorial Day

Bill DeYoung



Coky Aguilera is one of the two performers in "Beyond Glory." Images: Stage Photography of Tampa.

Established in 2019, Tampa-based Outcast Theatre Collective’s mission is to develop and produce staged works that focus on historically marginalized communities and individuals.

Since the advent of the pandemic, the grassroot group’s work has been almost entirely virtual and education-oriented; it’s part of the “Theatre of the Oppressed” movement, using techniques (theater games, workshops, scene work) to enlighten and inspire educational organizations all over the country.

Now, Outcast is back onstage. The mission remains – and this Memorial Day presentation is immediate.

Actor Josh Groff.

Friday through Sunday, Outcast actors Cornelio “Coky” Aguilera and Josh Groff deliver the stage version of Beyond Glory, the oral history of eight veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, rendering firsthand accounts of the actions which resulted in each of them receiving the Medal of Honor. Larry Smith wrote the book; the stage adaptation is by Stephen Lang.

They are Black, Hispanic, Pacific American and white. “It was Josh’s idea to cast it with actors who represent the marginalized communities in our armed forces,” Aguilera explains, “to ‘do justice to some of those voices that are represented in the production.’ And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The two actors portray all eight servicemen, each represented by a different monologue. Says director Ned Averill-Snell: “If I were to cast it myself, I could not imagine casting it any better than those two guys.”

Beyond Glory is a minimalist production – as with most Outcast shows, it’s designed to “pick up and move,” to be produced wherever and whenever its message is needed.

The message, according to the director, is that “Heroism is complicated. And heroism is a mixed bag. These guys are all dealing with the fact that the government has officially pronounced them ‘heroes.’ And they all look at that with a certain amount of conflict – ‘I was terrified’ and ‘I don’t know how I feel about killing people.’ And ‘I faced an enormous amount of racism from the very organizations that are now honoring me.’

“It’s a very complicated thing. Winning this award gives these guys very complicated, conflicting feelings. And they’re doing their absolute best to communicate, to us, something it is not possible to communicate if you haven’t experienced it. They’re trying to tell us what it was like to be there.”

Beyond Glory will move to the Off-Central in St. Pete June 2-11.

“Josh and Coky,” Averill-Snell says, “are such truthful actors. They’re passionate actors. To be right up close to them while they’re talking about really hairy personal experiences of combat, it’s profoundly moving.”

And after three years of virtual theater, the actors are ready to be back onstage. “There’s no audience like the one you can hear,” Aguilera explains. “The one you share the same space with. We’re definitely excited about that.”

Ticket links:

Beyond Glory at Stageworks

Beyond Glory at the Off-Central








Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Scott Simmons

    May 25, 2023at9:04 am

    Since I live permanently in Mexico I won’t be able to watch this live. Will there be a recorded version available?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.