Upcoming plays examine personal impacts of Vietnam War

Western Today staff

Western Washington University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present two plays, “Streamers” by David Rabe and “A Piece of My Heart” by Shirley Lauro, in rotation from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1; evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on select days at 2 p.m. at the DUG Theatre in the Performing Arts Center on Western’s campus.

The two plays examine the personal impact of the Vietnam War and will be presented on alternate nights using the same set.

The performances are in observance of the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, generally regarded as the start of the Vietnam War.

“Streamers” is the final installation in Rabe’s Vietnam War trilogy that began with “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel” and “Sticks and Bones.” “Streamers” focuses on the interactions and personal conflicts of a group of soldiers preparing to ship out to fight in Southeast Asia. The action is driven by differences of class, race, and questions of personal commitment and patriotism. Mark Kuntz, director of “Streamers,” has organized and directed the annual Veteran’s Day musical celebration in Bellingham for many years.

“A Piece of My Heart” is based on true incidents affecting women who participated in the Vietnam conflict and distills to six characters the stories of 26 actual women involved in the war. The play’s characters are five nurses and a country-western singer booked by an unscrupulous agent to entertain the troops. The action follows the women before, during, and after their tour in the war-torn nation and ends as each leaves a personal token at the memorial wall in Washington. The play premiered in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club and has been produced by theater companies more than 1,000 times since then. The Vietnam Vets Association has called the play “the most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation.”

“A Piece of My Heart” is directed by Deb Currier, daughter of Sgt. Noah James Greer, a Green Beret medic from 1966 to 1968. Currier has worked with Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFA) members in Montana and Oregon to create performances and pieces of art exploring combat, war, and grief from the soldier’s perspective.

The plays are open to the general public, and tickets for the performances are $12 to $15. Students with a valid student ID receive a $5 discount on tickets.

For more information or for detailed performance times and dates, visit cpfa.wwu.edu/theatredance or call the box office at 360-650-6146.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 8:35am