Its authors are the eight veterans who initially appeared in it - two of whom, Richard Chaves and Vincent Caristi, are still with the show at the Public. The original director, John DiFusco, has guided the current production, and, under the Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl) of New York's Vietnam Veterans Ensemble Theater Company, has enlisted six new actors, also veterans, to replace the departed original cast members.
Many of the play's segments are straightforward oral history, but such was the nature of Vietnam that its oral history will always have an arresting ring. When the soldiers describe their adventures in the jungle or in Saigon bordellos, they do so in a jivey, at times funny, language that combines timeless military lingo with rock-and-roll cadences, drug jargon, pidgin Vietnamese and English and an almost surreal litany of profanity.
It's an authentic form of stylized diction, ideal for the theater, that few playwrights could invent from scratch. Yet ''Tracers'' doesn't settle for just its vital language, or for enacting its now-familiar anecdotes. Point''have artfully stirred the fragments into a hallucinatory dramatic whole.
In one typical sequence, a boot-camp drill instructor J. Kenneth Campbell terrorizes his raw recruits by barking sadistic orders; it's an archetypal scene, but when it's over the sergeant surprises us by suddenly stepping out of character. No longer a blowhard but a withered harbinger of doom, the sergeant softly reminds us that, of his young charges, ''80 percent are targets, 10 percent are fighters and one in a hundred may become a warrior.
Once we're in the war itself, the inventive Mr. DiFusco uses sound effects, skillful lighting by Terry Wu thrich and balletic movement - but little scenery - to make us smell the stench of death. In one Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl), the actors mime a ''blanket detail'' - in which they try to solve the macabre ''jigsaw puzzle'' of reuniting their dead comrades' torsos with their severed fingers and arms.
While the gore is left to our imaginations, we can't help sharing one soldier's urge to vomit. Even Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl), perhaps, is the play's double-whammy ending - during which two alternative destinies for the platoon, both faithful to history, merge into a single, bleeding mural commemorating the war's legacy.
One war that is not refought in ''Tracers'' is the battle over the conflict's origins and validity. The few explicit political statements flow naturally from the action - as when one veteran, now an Army lifer, sardonically describes recent American casualties in Lebanon as another example of ''the unwilling'' being ''led by the uneducated to do the impossible for the ungrateful.
As good as the entire cast is, the two original players are exceptional, Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl). Caristi, as a scrawny recruit from Brooklyn, starts off as a naive figure of fun, then is transfigured by battle into a survivor who rationalizes his absurd wartime experience Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl) ''a party.
Caristi's increasingly glassy eyes tell us, whose revelers are mostly ghosts. The open-faced Mr. Did that moment ring true for you? People act funny around celebrities and people they see on TV and in movies. They just want to find some common thread to connect with them to make them feel like not just your average person on the street that has no connection at all. Was this movie a reunion of sorts?
I almost forgot and had to remind him of it—it was so long ago. He played a drug dealer and I was his liaison, if you could imagine Jack Black and I being drug-dealers! I remember him being funny. We were doing dramatic acting, but he was obviously still Traks / Stage (2) - Long Train Running / Voodoo Dance / Ocean Of Crime (German Version) (Vinyl) Black at the time, doing his signature stuff between takes. No, I never would have thought in a million years that we would be going the road that we went down.
I just thought it really pushed the envelope in an intelligent way. I thought the movie did a good job of not turning the storyline into a gay joke — it never makes fun of the experience itself. I really was. I see how it could have gone that way. I was thinking of other examples, like I Love You Man. That would turn into a gross-out joke. We did this! But I just found it funny that this guy is so enamored with this cool guy from high school.
He has a wife and kids but goes to the places that he goes to to get him to come to the reunion. It had nothing to do with two guys getting together. It had more to do with the degree of desperation this guy feels. In our weakest moments, how far will we go for validation? Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan. James Marsden at the L. Premiere of The D Train. By Nolan Feeney. TIME: Did you go to your last reunion?
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