Tuesday, March 03, 2009

POW! (Play Of The Week)

Last of the Boys
by Dietz, Steven

The Vietnam War was America’s 20th century war that truly divided our nation. Playwright Steven Dietz is not about to let us forget that.

Ben and Jeeter, both veterans of that war, have for 30 years remained united by that divisive war. Ben lives an reclusive life, never wanting to remember and yet driven to “channel” the persona of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara for an explanation of the American plan for that dark and ugly war. Jeeter, on the other hand, lives and breathes the Vietnam War with almost heroic romanticism.

Despite their differences, Ben and Jeeter’s war-buddy bond has endured. They laugh, drink together, throw barbs, insults and sometimes punches; but this summer those time-tested rituals are challenged and give way to confessions and self-discoveries – ultimately destroying their relationship.

Dietz’s fiercely funny and mesmerizing character study is theatrical, visually symbolic, and full of unexpected excitement. It’s infused with the devastation and aftermath of a truly horrific war, which resulted in a phenomenal social upheaval.

The production values are bathed in the music of the period (Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, etc.) and Dietz’s stage directions are unique, informative, and as entertaining as you would want to find anywhere – making the reading as pleasurable as the performing.

Cast: 2 M (in their 50s) and 2 W (one in her 50s and the other in her 30s).

Scenes/Monologues: The play has exciting scenes and tremendous monologues from complex characters relating to their life’s experiences and needs. In the climatic scene, Ben’s account of the battlefield in which he faced a moral dilemma is devastating and truly thought provoking.

Recommended by: Bill