Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes
Content: A filmed performance of The Draft during its premiere production at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 2015.
Available from: Media Education Foundation, (800) 897-0089. Purchase price includes selected clips on key topics (e.g. race and class in the draft, the draft lottery, PTSD). A free companion study guide can be downloaded here or from the MEF website.
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, their stories give voice to the passion, the anguish, the joy, the inspiration, and the intense personal and collective struggles of a generation.