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Viet Rock

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Ellen Larson

on 16 September 2010

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Transcript of Viet Rock

Viet Rock Megan Terry The Open Theatre (1963-1973) "There is so much material around
I wish I were quintuplets." Experimental group Improvisational "I would like to change my life
and everyone else's. I don't know
how to do it. If not the life, then the
day, the evening, the hour, the minute." -Joseph Chaikin Responses Production Development Historical Context Vietnam War (1959-1975)
LBJ Presidency--war expansion (1963-1969)
Division of the American people
Viet Rock: A Folk War Movie (1966) Saturday morning workshops 1965-1966
"Too many plays are written after studying other plays. Not enough plays are written out of an observation of character, society, and current world problems." -Terry
Newspaper clippings, titles, TV accounts Motives violence patriotic rhetoric feelings aggression destructiveness fears insecurities Insert: Chaikin, Feldman Meant to focus on the action, not the words
Chronological narrative
No sets, costumes, or props
13-16 actors, depending
Actors repeated in different roles Evolution Opening at La MaMa Theatre (May 21, 1966) "Amateur, Raw, Humanity" "Left the garage & entered the theatre." Workshops at Yale (September, 1966) "A new awkwardness." Off-Broadway at Martinique Theatre (November 1966) Terry on dialogue
Chaikin on actors
Feldman on staging Dialogue
Action New York Times (Nov 1966)
"If war is hell, Miss Terry seems to say, let us make theater hell, too, with the same techniques."
Blurts, phrases, lines (sloganeering in reverse)
"Barked at, leered at, stomped at, sneered at... The Performance New York City Exploration of political, artistic, social issues Workshop oriented Joseph Chaikin Conflict Behind the Scenes -Chaikin & Feldman wanted an angrier attitude, stronger irony ...more like a Brecht anti-war play -difficulty balancing improvisational inputs and script...rift between actors and Terry Schechner "The theme & scope, the variety & density of Viet Rock would have excited Brecht." Minneapolis Tribune "Viet Rock is more important than what it means...it wins an emotional gut shot at the tragedy of the times." Baltimore Afro-American (1971) "...if I had to pick a major weakness in the production, it would be that there is simply too much talking. The most effective scenes...rely more on movement than speech." emphasis on human suffering caused by the war, no attempt to address the economic or political aspects, only that which everyone can feel and understand chronological narrative: young American men inducted, trained, taken to Vietnam, forced to fight, attacked, and killed

Sergeant is only consistent character

Two act play, including a coda at the end originator of the feminist play
playwright, but encouraged actor-input
often correlated with Brecht "Sound & Movement"
"Transformational Drama": post-modern technique; a dramatic action composed of brief sequences that are suddenly transformed into different sets of characters & circumstances.
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