A composite or collage of interrelated scenes, the play follows the lives of a group of "grunts" as they move from basic training, on to combat in Vietnam, and finally to the shattering realization that their lives will be forever affected by the horrors that they have witnessed—and been a part of. Dealing with the grim realities of the battlefield—free-fire zones, trip wires, drugs, body bags, rat infested bunkers and the ever-present stench of death—the men become increasingly isolated from the "outside world" and from a society that finds honor in such mindless violence and destruction. Ultimately the play, through its gut-wrenching verisimilitude, becomes a moving and eloquent plea for sanity and forbearance, as it assails our minds and hearts with the grim message of what can happen when conscience is overruled by expedi-ence, and clear reason by a warped sense of national purpose.
Conceived by John DiFusco; written by the original cast: Vincent Caristi, Richard Chaves, John DiFusco, Eric E. Emerson, Rick Gallavan, Merlin Marston, and Harry Stephens, with Sheldon Lettich. A powerful, unsettling and ultimately devastating account of the Vietnam War, written (and first performed) by men who were there. Successfully presented in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and London by the Vietnam Veterans Ensemble Theatre Company, the play evokes both a sense of the horror and futility of war itself, and a renewed awareness of the misguided, if well-meant, policies which allowed a "police action" to escalate into a trauma which divided the nation. "This is an evening in the theater you should not miss—both as a theatregoer and as a person." —NY Post. "…a jivey, at times funny, language that combines timeless military lingo with rock 'n' rock cadences, drug jargon, pidgin Vietnamese and English, and an almost surreal litany of profanity." —NY Times. "A land mine of a play that blows complacency to shreds." —Newsweek Magazine. "Eventually, every one of these soldiers, whether dead or merely dented, becomes one of our casualties, someone we sacrificed to this dreadful, unnecessary war." —NY Magazine.