Photo by Tina Barney
There’s a terrific profile of the playwright David Rabe by John Lahr in the November 24 New Yorker . In the article, headlined “Land of Lost Souls: David Rabe’s America, ” Lahr deconstructs all of Rabe’s work for the stage, including Streamers , one of four of Rabe’s plays set during the Vietnam War.
Lahr tells us that Rabe began Streamers —which is now playing through January 11 at the Roundabout Theatre in New York—“soon after he was discharged, in 1967, from the Army’s 68th Medical Group.” According to the article, Rabe was drafted into the Army in 1965, when he was 25, after having dropped out of graduate school (in theater at Villanova). He spent a year in Vietnam “doing clerical work and guard duty and building hospitals.” Rabe’s unit, Lahr notes, “was not under daily threat; he was not exposed, he said, ‘to the horrors of risk.”’
Although Rabe felt “secondhand guilt about not being in a combat unit, ” his service in the Vietnam War had a long and strong impact on his post-war life and his writing career. To find out the details, check out the article on line .