Tackling controversial topics such as war, masculinity and the importance of family, “Goliath” tells the story of a homeward bound veteran trying to assimilate back into civilian life.

“Goliath” deals with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), war and other topics affecting veterans. The play is written in the style of HBO’s acclaimed television show Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry, a show now synonymous with the slam poetry movement.

The play premiered at a New York theater festival and will be performed at Stanford and UC Berkeley in the same week by the Poetic Theater Productions troupe. The play is sponsored by the Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center (CADRC).

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Jeremy Karafin, the co-artistic director of “Goliath” and the founder of Poetic Theater Productions, founded in 2010, said it’s important to recognize the connection between poetic and dramatic theater.

“I was always excited about how those two worlds merge,” Karafin said. “The stories and ideas that are told are often more profound with the use of poetry in the theater setting. I wanted to continue to support that and poets who continue to write plays.”

While Karafin was a student at UCSC, he worked as a director for Rainbow Theater — a theater troupe under the umbrella of CADRC, producing multicultural plays since 1993. Karafin also co-founded the Kinetic Poetics Project (KPP), UCSC’s renowned poetry group. Both of these groups influenced Karafin’s vision for the Poetic Theater Productions company.

“Goliath” tells a story deserving of the spotlight, said CADRC director Don Williams.

“The play deals with a variety of issues,” Williams said, “[including] war, life after being in the service and those struggles and successes. It’s a snapshot through the eyes of the main character, who is adjusting back into normal life.”

Lupita Sanchez, the CADRC’s ethnic resource student ambassador, said the story’s importance is its relevance to current events.

“Since we are all still involved in the war, [coming home] is something that needs to be talked about,” Sanchez said.

She also said poetry acts as the perfect medium for the expression of these intensely personal experiences.

“Through theater arts, topics like this are way easier to take in,” Sanchez said.

Co-artistic director Jeremy Karafin agreed the play tackles heavy but important issues.

“The play is not for the lighthearted — it’s a dark play,” Karafin said, “but military veterans, family, civilians and activists have all found something in this play that moves them.”

“Goliath,” also sponsored by Colleges Nine, Ten and Porter, will feature poems written by veterans at the beginning of the play, preceded by a discussion about the play’s events.

The play itself will consist of different poetic pieces read by lead character David’s family, friends and drill sergeant. The play spotlights a poetic ensemble with a total of seven major cast members. Each character will step forward and offer their individual perspective on David’s story.

Karafin said the play encourages those affected by these issues to strengthen open and honest communication with each other.

“As a community we have to understand what it means to send our young men and women out to fight in our name all across the world,” Karafin said. “There’s a lot of different things explored in this production and it starts a conversation, which is the most important thing you can do.”


“Goliath” is a poetic production dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, war and other topics affecting veterans. Co-artistic director by UC Santa Cruz alumnus Jeremy Karafin, “Goliath” is sponsored by the Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center.


College Nine/Ten multipurpose room

Wed., Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.