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The Vietnam Plays: Volume II: Streamers and The Orphan (Rabe, David) Paperback – Bargain Price, January 18, 1994


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Paperback, Bargain Price, January 18, 1994
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Product Details

  • Series: Rabe, David (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802133452
  • ASIN: B005OL9ZU6
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,603,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on March 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Vietnam Plays, Volume Two," by David Rabe, contains two plays: "Streamers" and "The Orphan," together with a 1992 afterword by the author. The book includes production information on both plays. "Streamers" was produced and staged in 1976, and "The Orphan" was first produced professionally in 1973.

"Streamers" looks at a group of Army soldiers who are facing the possibility of being sent to Vietnam while the war is going on. Rabe focuses on a group of three roommates, all junior soldiers. As these troops talk and argue together with the other soldiers in the play, Rabe shows how tensions within the military can create fracture lines along many axes of difference: race, sexual orientation, educational background, rank. Early on in the play Rabe introduces the theme of homosexuality in the army; this theme plays a significant role as the story unfolds. Also explored is the relationship between younger troops and experienced combat veterans.

"Streamers" is a play that may seem a deceptively straightforward slice of military life, but I found it to be a dense and complex text, rich in irony, that rewards careful reading. It's a powerful play that effectively presents a group of military personnel as a microcosmic world of tension, lust, anxiety, anger, and violence. Particularly piercing is Rabe's look at the intersection of verbal "violence" and physical violence.

I found "The Orphan" far less interesting than its companion piece. In it Rabe melds ancient Greek lore with late-20th century American concerns. Although the play has some strong moments, overall I felt it lacked effectiveness. I felt that Rabe missed a golden opportunity to really use the Trojan and Vietnam wars to shed light on each other.
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