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    Uncomfortably 'Nam

    The stories of six women who served in Vietnam — full of shattered expectations, desperate encounters, and the anguish of the war zone — are unforgettably recounted in "A Piece of My Heart."


    The voices of women who served in Vietnam get heard in this play, which should appeal to anyone lamenting the cancellation of the "China Beach" TV show. The experiences of six women (three nurses, one USO entertainer, one Red Cross worker and one intelligence officer) before, during and after the war are vividly played out here through compelling performances and minimal staging.

    Written by: Shirley Lauro.
    Directed by: Nancy S. Chu.
    Based on the book by: Keith Walker.
    Cast: Marc Diraison, Amy McKenna, Marco Jo Clate, Robin Dawn Arocha, Sarah Sims, Christine Rodgers, Gisela Adisa.
    Among several suitcases that serve as everything from airplane seats to wounded patients, the stories unspool. We hear how each woman decides to go to Vietnam. Each woman has expectations, such as the army nurse who thinks she's going to be assigned to Hawaii and the singer-guitarist who thinks touring the 'Nam will be an expense-paid career boost. Once they arrive in country their dreams of storybook service are shattered by the harrowing realities of war.

    The chaos of life during wartime gets somewhat shrilly conveyed by the actresses. There's a lot of screaming going on as they try to cope with the endless stream of wounded and grim working conditions. Almost all the women find refuge in booze and pot and the arms of various men. (The by-the-book Vassar grad working for the Red Cross won't break the rules and sleep with an enlisted man who's pressuring her and this makes for a fiery confrontation.) The scene depicting the attack on the army hospital during the Tet offensive is a truly scary one and is one of the most effective moments in the play.

    They all return home from Vietnam but have to grapple with new problems such as alcoholism and Agent Orange poisoning and there is a palpable feeling of some redemption that comes from a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. What works most about "A Piece Of My Heart" is that you feel you get to know these women and your heart goes out to them. A most effective anti-war statement, this play is a vibrant testament to the women's Vietnam experience.

    AUGUST 19, 2001

    Reader comments on A Piece of My Heart:

  • "A piece of my heart."   from Jessica, Oct 1, 2001
  • Re: "A piece of my heart."   from Nick Anstey, Oct 9, 2001
  • Re: "A piece of my heart."   from Lissa, Feb 20, 2002
  • Re: "A piece of my heart."   from ann, Mar 28, 2002
  • A Piece of My Heart   from Megan Hildebrand, Dec 11, 2001
  • Re: A Piece of My Heart   from Heather, Dec 21, 2001
  • Shirley Lauro   from russell, Apr 10, 2002
  • ?   from Jennifer, Jul 27, 2002
  • A Piece of My Heart   from Nichole, Sep 23, 2002
  • We won   from Tyler, Oct 16, 2002
  • Re: We won   from Mom, Oct 23, 2002
  • Re: We won   from Lyndsay, Aug 15, 2003
  • Frau Schmidt   from Vanessa, Jan 27, 2003
  • trying out for "A Piece of My Heart"   from emily, Aug 23, 2003
  • [no subject]   from Jess, Apr 9, 2004
  • Re: [no subject]   from Kara, Nov 24, 2004
  • Touched my Soul   from Jennifer Janszen, Apr 28, 2004
  • This play is so emotional.   from Kayla B., Sep 30, 2004
  • Played Steele 3 times   from Carolyn Tidwell, Jan 25, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Jim, Apr 12, 2005
  • Re: info on Whitney   from Johanna, Jun 27, 2005
  • Re: info on Whitney   from Carolyn Tidwell, Aug 25, 2005
  • Re: info on Whitney   from Sam, Oct 30, 2006
  • We're still alive   from Doris I. "Lucki" Allen, Jan 9, 2007
  • Re: We're still alive   from Marleen, Mar 28, 2007
  • Re: We're still alive   from pat brown, Oct 7, 2007
  • Fall 2007 Production   from Greg Volk, Jun 19, 2007
  • Contact information   from Greg Volk, Jun 19, 2007
  • Male Parts   from Damien, Oct 29, 2007
  • [no subject]   from Rebekah, Feb 29, 2008

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