Closer Than They Appear

By Christine Evans
Media Design by Jared Mezzocchi
Directed by Joseph Megel

Closer Than They Appear tells the colliding stories of Michael, an African American veteran undergoing virtual reality therapy for PTSD, and Zaynab, a teenager from Fallujah blogging during the Iraq war. It explores the haunted human lives—both American and Iraqi—that shadow the digital surfaces through which we wage, view, and recover from war. The play blends scripted live performance with projections developed from the animated landscapes of Virtual Iraq, a virtual-reality program based on video-game graphics and developed as a therapy tool for US veterans suffering from PTSD.


Featuring Elisabeth Lewis Corley*, Trevor Johnson, and Smita Misra.

Preview performances will take place Thursday and Friday, September 14th and 15th at 8:00pm. The second preview will be followed by a talk-back discussion of the performance with Arno Hartholt of USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, Joseph Megel, Christine Evans, and Jared Mezzocchi. Two other panel discussions are associated with the run of Closer Than They Appear (see talkback and panel schedule below).


A special gala opening performance will be on Saturday, September 16th at 8:00pm followed by an invitation-only reception. Admission to this performance is by additional donation only. See StreetSigns's website  for more information.​



September 14th – 17th, 2017

Thursday-Saturday at 8:00pm

Sunday at 3:00pm


September 20th – 24th, 2017

Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00pm
Sunday at 3:00pm


September 27th – October 1st, 2017

Wednesday-Saturday at 8:00pm
Sunday at 3:00pm



Swain Hall

Studio 6

Schedule of Panel/Talkback Events


Friday, September 15th - "Virtual Reality in Education"


Morehead Planetarium and Science Center


Arno Hartholt - USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Steven King - UNC-CH School of Media and Journalism

Mike Cuales - NC State DELTA

Jason Cooper - Horizon Productions

Elizabeth Evans - Duke Digital Initiative

Jay Heinz (Moderator) – Morehead Planetarium and Science Center


Friday, September 15th

9:15pm-10:00pm (After Preview Performance)

Swain Hall, Studio 6


Arno Hartholt – USC Institute for Creative Technologies

Joseph Megel  (Director) – UNC-CH Department of Communication

Christine Evans (Playwright) – Georgetown University, Dept. of Performing Arts

Jared Mezzocchi (Media Designer) – UMD, MFA Program in Design


Sunday, September 24th

4:30pm-5:30pm (After Matinee Performance)

Swain Hall, Studio 6


Sonny Kelly – UNC-CH Dept. of Communication; US Air Force Veteran

Hilary Lithgow – UNC-CH Dept. of English and Comparative Literature

Dilshad Jaff – UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health

Wayne Lee – UNC-CH Dept. of History, Chair of Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense

Gene Hobbs – UNC-CH Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center

Sarah Shields (Moderator) – UNC-CH Dept. of History

Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, Music Theatre International, Playscripts and Rodgers and Hammerstein. For more information on this national program, please click here or visit

To receive a ticket through Playwrights Welcome at our theatre, send an email to and include "Playwrights Welcome" in the subject line or else simply come to the theatre before curtain. If there are tickets available, playwrights need only present their Dramatists Guild membership card to be admitted.

StreetSigns and The Process Series are proud to partner with Playwrights Welcome on this production. Playwrights Welcome is a new program to provide free access to theatre for Dramatists Guild of America Members, developed by Samuel French along with

A Co-Production with

This project is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Orange County Arts Commission; and the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funded in part by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project and supported by a grant from the Paul Green Foundation, Inc. – Serving the Arts and Human Rights since 1982.

* Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract 

The Process Series

101 E. Cameron Avenue, Rm. 105

Chapel Hill, NC   27514  |  (919) 843-5666

  • w-facebook
  • Twitter Clean