Seattle Rep’s LAST OF THE BOYS: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents LAST OF THE BOYS by Steven Dietz, directed by Braden Abraham, from January 18 to February 10, 2019. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, films, and music to enhance your experience of the show.

Seattle’s prolific and industrious playwright Steven Dietz received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for LAST OF THE BOYS, which was written and first produced in 2004.

Vietnam War veteran Ben lives alone in a trailer on a toxic land site in California. When his war buddy Jeeter arrives following the death of Ben’s father, the old memories and familiar recriminations begin. They are joined by Jeeter’s girlfriend and her mother, who are both dealing with their own war wounds—the loss of husband and father. Haunting is a central theme of the play: All four characters are haunted in their own way, including visitations from the ghosts of a young soldier and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, each trying to make their way through the fog of war some thirty years later.

Here are several titles in the Library’s collection that will help you to explore the themes of this fierce and intimate play further:

What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes
Northwest writer, Vietnam veteran, and author of Vietnam War novel Matterhorn, Marlantes has penned a sobering and thoughtful memoir of combat and its effects on the human psyche.

Acclaimed documentary about Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations during the Vietnam War. McNamara figures prominently in Dietz’s play and was a major source of creative inspiration for LAST OF THE BOYS.

The Sorrow of War:A Novel of North Vietnam by Bảo Ninh
Soldier Kien’s postwar experience is haunted by “a parade of horrific memories” in this powerful novel, the first published about the war from the North Vietnamese perspective.

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
Finkel’s book focuses on the deep and lasting pain felt by veterans of the Iraq War upon returning home and struggling to reintegrate into society. Dietz wrote LAST OF THE BOYS in 2004 during the Iraq War, a war that repeatedly evoke comparisons to Vietnam.

Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees
As the pieces in this anthology demonstrate, the Vietnam War continues to haunt the next generation fifty years on.

For more suggested titles, check out the complete resource list.

~posted by Heather M.

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