At the Keegan: ‘The Team Room’ Honors Special Ops Warriors

By Hailey Wharram

“The Team Room,” a play written by Bill Raskin, follows a group of Green Berets in the moments immediately preceding and after the devastating events of Sept. 11, 2001. In a triumphant stage debut, the production was showcased Oct. 7 at The Keegan Theatre in Dupont Circle. 

Running through Oct. 28, this poignant production transports the audience into the “team room” of Special Forces A-Team 824 at Camp Diamond, West Virginia and explores the unique dynamics at play within this “third place,” separate both from veterans’ home lives and their work when deployed.

Playwright and U.S. Special Forces veteran, Lt. Col. (ret.) Bill Raskin. Courtesy Keegan Theatre.

Through a fast-paced script and powerfully raw cast performances, “The Team Room” is a gut-punch which masterfully captures this turning point in United States and world history. 

“The most rewarding part of the process is telling the story of the men and women who didn’t come home,” Raskin said. 

Upon his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of active service in U.S. Army Special Forces, veteran Bill Raskin began writing about military life, publishing his first novel “Cardiac Gap” in 2019. In 2021, he published “The Team Room” as a short story anthology, but couldn’t shake the feeling that the piece was somehow incomplete without being performed in front of  a live audience. Over 30 years after graduating together from Georgetown University in 1989, Raskin reconnected with Ray Ficca and Michael Hare, the show’s director and producer, respectively, and collaborated with them to make this dream a reality.

“We were all classmates at Georgetown and knew each other there, but then, though Ray and Michael kept in contact, we all went on very different paths for 30 years. I went in the army for 20, Michael went into the software and tech industry, and Ray went on to become a Broadway director. When my novel was published in 2019, Michael had done some non-profit arts production, so a classmate put us back in touch and said we might have something to collaborate on. We started talking, and then, when this was published as a play in 2021, Michael said, ‘You know we have a classmate, Ray Ficca, who is a career stage professional.’ I had never known that. That is when the three of us started talking about setting this up as an independent stage run tied to a non-profit mission,” Raskin said. 

Above all else, “The Team Room” is dedicated to philanthropy. In addition to evolving from an anthology to a play, the production has grown to become The Team Room Foundation, a non-profit incorporated in 2022, dedicated to bringing this veteran-centric artistic production to life.

“I am the chair and then the other four members are all from the Special Forces community. We wanted everyone who’s involved on the foundation side to have a personal connection to that mission,” Raskin said. 

The Team Room Foundation has partnered with Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) for this production. SOWF is an organization which, according to their mission statement, “ensures complete post-secondary educational support and additional educational opportunities ‘cradle to career,’ for eligible surviving children of fallen Special Operations Personnel and children of all Medal of Honor Recipients.” All of “The Team Room’s” net proceeds from their 18-show run will be donated to SOWF. 

“We’ve already been able to give one $10 thousand dollar check to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and, once we hit our $78 thousand dollar-revenue goal, all proceeds beyond that go to them,” Raskin said. 

Fundraising efforts are off to a promising start thanks to enthusiastic community support.

“We have some great partners who’ve come in. This morning we received a matching pledge that if we get 100 new donations of any amount, that donor will match with $5,000, so there’s a lot of great community involvement,” Raskin said. 

The board is set to convene at the end of the year to assess next steps regarding the foundation. 

“At the end of 2023, we will assess if the best thing to do is sunset the foundation because we’ve successfully run this mission or if we want to potentially look at future projects that we run under the umbrella of the foundation. The nice thing is, our team is experienced enough to know there’s goodness in either one of those directions and so we’ll cross that bridge at the end of the year,” Raskin said. 

While Raskin is tremendously proud to be telling the story of the special ops community, he’s equally excited about the production’s potential to reach a wide audience. 

“Even just from early ticket sales, I could look at the names coming in on ticket reservations and already identify that in all 18 shows there will be someone in the audience from our very small special operations community who is seeing this and remembering a fallen comrade who never came home, or their son, or their parent, or their grandparent. On one hand, there will be people with that very specific experience seeing the show and honoring that story [and that] means a lot to me. However, something equally meaningful is the fact that people who have never stepped foot on a military base are also going to get exposure to that world and what that sense of purpose and camaraderie is like,” Raskin said. 

The “The Team Room” at The Keegan Theatre runs through Oct. 28. For more info and ticketing information, go here


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