- Los Angeles Times
"Pick of the Week!"
"... this 1980 play conceived by John DiFusco and written by the original cast has aged well."
"John Drouillard stylishly directs the episodic drama ..."
"... Peter Winfield as the sergeant ... makes an impression in a very brief scene ..."
"... Drouillard has wisely reinserted a scene (cut after the 1980 Odyssey Theater production) ..."
- LA Weekly
This production of TRACERS, conceived by JOHN DIFUSCO and written by the original cast, vincent caristi, richard chaves, john difusco, eric e. emerson, rick GALlAVAN, merlin marston, and harry stephens with sheldon lettich, was presented by draw the sneck productions at THE SANTA MONICA PLAYHOUSE, FEBRUARY 28-APRIL 13, 1997, produced under special arrangement with DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.
It was directed by John Drouillard; sET DESIGN BY CHRISTOPHER BEYRIES; VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL INTERPRETATION CREATED BY BRICE BECKHAM; lighting by CHRISTOPHER BEYRIES; sound by JOHN DROUILLARD AND CHRISTOPHER BEYRIES; produced by WILLIAM VOGT, SCOTT FREEBURG, CHRISTOPHER BEYRIES, AND JOHN DROUILLARD; SPECIAL ADVISORS TO THE PRODUCTION WERE JOHN DIFUSCO, RICHARD CHAVES, DONALD BILSKY, MARK OSTERLOH, AND PAUL BACKER; production stage manager was CHRISTOPHER BEYRIES.
The cast was as follows:
Professor • craig bilsky
little john • scott donnelly
habu • gene fereaud
baby san • scott freeburg
doc • andy hungerford
scooter • chris solari
dinky dau • william vogt
sgt. williams • peter winfield
A composite or collage of interrelated scenes, the play follows the lives of a group of "grunts" as they move from basic training, on to combat in Vietnam, and finally to the shattering realization that their lives will be forever affected by the horrors that they have witnessed—and been a part of. Dealing with the grim realities of the battlefield—free-fire zones, trip wires, drugs, body bags, rat infested bunkers and the ever-present stench of death—the men become increasingly isolated from the "outside world" and from a society that finds honor in such mindless violence and destruction. Ultimately the play, through its gut-wrenching verisimilitude, becomes a moving and eloquent plea for sanity and forbearance, as it assails our minds and hearts with the grim message of what can happen when conscience is overruled by expedience, and clear reason by a warped sense of national purpose. - from Dramatists Play Service
BEHIND THE SCENES
To say we were humbled and overwhelmed by the explosive reaction we received from audiences the previous December would be an understatement. As a company, we definitely had a strong connection to this material and one that meant all the world to us, so it was all that much more meaningful and moving to experience that connection as it bridged out to our audiences and back again.
What really surprised us was how much word of the show was spreading around Los Angeles during the performance weekend and shortly thereafter. It was a regular occurrence for us to hear about the show from total strangers in completely random parts of the city. It was during this period, we received an offer from the Santa Monica Playhouse to bring the show over to a new space they’d be opening sometime towards the spring. Naturally, we accepted the challenge.
In February of 1997, we returned to rehearsals to get ourselves back into gear, to restage a bunch of stuff due to the new space and a new set, as well as to rehearse a scene that we were given the opportunity to re-introduce into the show which had been cut when the original production went to Broadway, a scene, controversial for its time, that dealt issues of homosexuality and abuse of power.
We weren’t sure what would happen when we lit this fuse again, but, once we did, we experienced a similar explosion. We were blessed by a seven-week run at the Santa Monica Playhouse and over the course of it, we were honored to be joined by more members of the original Tracers cast and family, as well as by countless Vietnam veterans who got word of the show and began to come by in groups.
And, this is where the concept of performing the show with a young cast really drove everything home. I can’t tell you how many times I was talking to vets after the show who, after watching these relative teenagers deal with these outrageous and overwhelming experiences for the previous two hours, would, often pointing back at the house door, emotionally remark to me, “that was us.”
This show indelibly changed all of us on it and, through this experience, became permanent brothers and sisters for the rest of our hopefully long roads, and, most certainly, in the spirit of the red-tipped bullet that leaves a visible warning in the air behind it, we all became tracers forever.