STREAMERS by David Rabe


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The fourth of David Rabe's Vietnam/soldier plays (following the hypnotic Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, the heavyhanded Sticks and Bones, and the bewildering The Orphan) won the N.Y. Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play of 1976 and is still drawing crowds at Lincoln Center. Mike Nichols' direction of that production surely minimized faults and maximized theatricality, but the text-set in one room of a Virginia Army barracks in 1965--shows Rabe in full control of his gift for grit-talk and savage contrasts: a reasonably innocent enlisted man from Wisconsin navigates among the minetraps of racial, sexual, and simply human tension that threaten men who are thrown together, pent up, and indoctrinated with fear and anger. Rabe's bloodthirstiness (so gratuitously displayed in Sticks and Bones) pops up again, but the climactic violence here--a controversial topic among critics and audiences--is at least arguably an integral part of this almost wellmade play. Rough language, heavy ironies (two old sergeants drink, sing, and joke), and perhaps the best drama to come out of this generation's worst memories.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1977
ISBN: 057364019X
Publisher: Knopf