Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Last of the Boys 8/13/13




Last of the Boys by Stephan Dietz

I grew up during the Vietnam era. I am a baby boomer. I am a hippie at heart. I probably never really understood any of this until tonight. It hit home, deep, powerful, yet stripping you because it takes from you. "Last of the Boys", a simple play. Not so simple when you sit down and think about it.

I cannot help but express my feelings here. I know you will have yours, and perhaps very different or even objectionable to mine. That is okay. That is what our lost boys fought for . . . this is what we are to remember. Vietnam.

I grew up watching "The Man", "Big Brother", and "Uncle Sam" decide what was important for us. After all, we worked for them, let them into our personal business, and elected them. They told us we were fighting for freedom. Freedom against Communism. Yet the boys that went over seas could not "see" what they were being told was there. "Why are we here?", most of the boys questioned. "To stay alive and get back home", I am sure most thought.

Meanwhile, here in the United States my generation protested. It was to stop the war, and to stop "The Man", "Big Brother", and "Uncle Sam" deciding how and what my generation should be. We were not fearful of Communism.  We were fearful of being controlled.  We were not allowed to express thought, but rather we were suppressed as best as the "The Man", "Big Brother", and "Uncle Sam" could come up with. I think to some extent it was no different than Communism. People back in the States supported our boys. Even the protesters. Not because we agreed with our government to send them there. Rather, because we wanted them back home, safe and in one piece.

Me, when I turned 18 I applied for my draft card as required by law. I was on the list, and before I knew it, the war was coming to a close and they cancelled the draft. Was I prepared to go? No. Did I want to go? No. Would I have gone? Yes. (I guess I could say I lost the Lottery again.) Even at that age I felt a responsibility to the people who needed you, your fellow "boys" who needed your help. Later, however, when I started college, there were a lot of "men" coming out of the service and going to school. We became friends on many levels. One day they basically told me, "be very lucky you were not drafted . . . don't ever wish, let alone think about wanting to be there with us." I remember the conversation to this day. It sort of enforces the hippie in me.

"Just Stop"

This play is nothing like my experience above. The play just caused me to remember it. This play is about the generation I am from, "coming to terms with the Vietnam conflict." There is a formula in the writing. However, the writing is so much more. For those who were in it, or those who were close to it, this play will leave you with an "opinion" that you will want to express.

The play does deal with some lingering issues. Issues created by the war. The characters are connected, tethered if you will, not able to be apart. The war affected all of us, in varying degrees.

Here is the cast:


Jeeter - played by Don Taylor

Ben - played by Jeff Peterson

Sayler - played by Mary DeBoer

Lorraine - played by Donna Kuhn

Young Soldier - played by William Maloney

Directed by Don Taylor




Ben lives out in California, in a trailer park, where everyone has left but him.  The clomgomerate that supposedly contaminated the land is buying everybody out.  Ben, though, chooses not to believe "The Man", and is happy to stay.  Though, this is not the story.



The story is around Ben and his war buddy Jeeter.  It has been 30 years since they served our Country.  Jeeter is stopping buy for several reasons, though Jeeter is still Jeeter, and in the end we understand his only drive.






Jeeter explains to Ben that he met a women, a much younger women. She is "into Vets" as he explains how he met her and her mom. He has basically fallen for her, and wants to introduce her to Ben. Though, Jeeter feels the need to tell Ben how to act around her, for a couple reasons.





Jeeter keeps bringing up Ben's father who has recently passed away. Ben gets a bit perturbed about Jeeter putting Ben's father up on a pedestal, like he knew him forever. Jeeter had brought by a suitcase with stuff from Ben's dad, to leave with Ben. Ben's first reaction, to throw it out. Later, after Jeeter leaves, Ben takes it back out and opens it. This is when, even 30 years later, the stress of Vietnam comes out.








And not so unusual with Vets from Vietnam, they sometimes loose themselves into a blank something. I know, because I have found my buddies who did serve in Vietnam do the same. Here, Ben realizes the state Jeeter is in, and helps him with another beer.







Nighttime comes, like it always comes.  Ben begins to spend an evening outside.






Then Ben has His 30 years of rememberrence to deal with . . .












Then along comes Saylor, the girl Jeeter met and invited over . . .









































































































Saylor needed to move on. Jeeter not wanting her to, took it in stride because his mission is still true . . .






Ben, now has time to remember . . . in a good way . . .


























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