Vietnam…through my lens is playing at the Dorothy Streslsin Theatre located at 312 West 36th Street. The play runs eighty minutes with no intermission. It closes on November 23, 2014.
The playwright and actor is Stu Richel. He served in the U S Army from 1968-1969 and was a combat correspondent with the first Infantry Division in Vietnam.
Stu walks around the stage. There is a desk with two chairs on the right and on the left two crates.
He tells us about his life a little before going to Viet Nam. Stu was a law student who failed to pass the bar in California. He felt the draft board was breathing down his back, so he enlists.
The story takes us thru his boot camp training, Viet Nam and when he gets home.
I’m not telling what happened because there would be no reason to see the show. This is a well-rounded play, good story, acting and directing.
Stu is natural in front of the audience. He changes his voice for the different people he is talking about. He makes you feel comfortable about hearing about his personal life. Nothing that is racy.
One story he told was when he was in boot camp. A couple of his African American friends invited him out to join them in town. They take him to an African American bar where he is the only white person there. He sees this attractive woman across the bar and strikes up a conversation with her. They live the bar in his friend’s car. He hopes something will happen and it doesn’t so they return to the bar. When he gets back his friends tell him she is a transgender. The way he describe the incident was very amusing.
Photos are flashed across the wall of Viet Nam, enough to add to the effect.
Linda S. Nelson is the director. She did a great job directing. She brought out the best in Stu. She said they have been friends for several years. Last January he brought pieces of his script. Linda is a dramaturge and with the information he gave her she came up with the story. The play had a reading in May. Linda also acts and produces shows.
This is a nice show to see. The show is different, nothing fancy but entertaining.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.