Length: Two acts; playing time is 1 hour and 47 minutes.
Cast: A minimum of nine male and three female actors play multiple roles. All need to appear to be of draft age (19-26). The play has 10 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: A group of U.S. college students is about to embark on a study tour of modern-day Vietnam. 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, 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, the stories give voice to the passion, the anguish, the joy, the inspiration, and the intense personal and collective struggles of a generation.