Nominee, Best New Work, 2015 ArtsImpulse Awards
Nominee, Best New Play (Small Stage), Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE)
- Kilian Melloy, EDGE Media Network
“Provocative, sad, enraging, beautiful. I was moved to tears and riveted throughout.”
- Hillary Goodridge, Roslindale, Massachusetts
“If you can, see this show!”
- Larry Stark, Theater Mirror
For Theatre Artists
The military draft during the Vietnam War created an agonizing dilemma for millions of young Americans. And the choices they made changed their lives forever. Peter Snoad’s award-winning play, The Draft, dramatizes the real-life stories of 10 of those young people.
The play is ideal for college and high school production because all the principal actors must appear to be of draft age (19-26). The Draft can also meet the needs of any theatre looking for a large-cast play with a social justice orientation and flexible casting options.
You can now purchase a live-performance video of The Draft, and review the script by contacting the playwright via this form or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The play is based on Tom Weiner’s book, “Called To Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft”
Length: Two acts; playing time is about 1 hour and 47 minutes excluding intermission. Cast: Minimum of nine male and three female actors playing multiple roles. All should read as draft age (19-26). The play has 11 principal characters and 81 other characters.
Staging: Flexible; can be performed on a bare stage with a few tables and chairs and other simple props.
Production History: The Draft premiered at Hibernian Hall, a multicultural performing arts center in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in the fall of 2015. The production then toured for three performances – at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts; Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut; and The Academy of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Story: The play is framed around a study tour of modern-day Vietnam by a group of U.S. college students. One of their pre-trip assignments is to interview people about their experiences with the military draft during the Vietnam War. The stories from those interviews – of eight men and two women – are interwoven throughout the play.
George Williams, Al Miller, and John Bisbee accepted the call to serve, saw combat in Vietnam, and struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and societal rejection after their return home. Tom Gardner won conscientious objector status and organized for civil rights and against the war. Randy Kehler resisted and went to jail. Jay Holtzman chose self-exile in Canada. Roger Wallace was prepared to leave the country, too, but the draft ended before he was called up; he was active in a college anti-war group. Frank Marotta got a medical deferment with a fake x-ray provided by his family doctor and became a draft counselor.
Of the two women featured in The Draft, Diane Clancy was a campus anti-war leader and counseled traumatized veterans. Penny Rock worked as a nurse at a U.S. military hospital in Vietnam, and saw the horrors of war in the maimed and dying young people she cared for. She, too, suffered with PTSD.
Together, their stories give voice to the passion, the anguish, the joy, the inspiration, and the intense personal and collective struggles of a generation.