A crowdsourcing campaign to finance a tour and promotion of The Draft, my new play about personal experiences with the Vietnam War draft, will launch tomorrow (June 3). The Indiegogo link is: http://igg.me/at/tour-the-draft. The campaign also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tourthedraft
The Draft will premiere at Hibernian Hall, a multicultural performing arts center in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, for eight performances September 10-20. The production will then go on the road for three performances -- at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA (September 24); Trinity College in Hartford, CT (September 25); and The Academy of Music in Northampton, MA (September 27).
We need to raise $18,500 to cover the costs of the tour gigs and to mount a strong promotional campaign -- including the use of a videotaped performance --to generate interest in further productions and readings, especially in colleges and high schools, around the country. Please contribute generously!
The sad fact is that many young people know next to nothing about the Vietnam War and its historical significance. Two months ago, I went with Tom Weiner -- author of "Called to Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft"on which the play is based -- to speak with a class at Westfield State College about the making of his book and my play. At one point we asked the 16 students present if they'd learned anything about the Vietnam War in high school. Only one raised her hand. For the others, the topic was either barely or never covered in history class.
Together with Tom's book, I think The Draft could be an effective "living history" educational tool. It can bring alive for young people not only the agonizing dilemma faced by people their own age back then, but also the personal costs of war and militarism. I hope, too, that the play will prove a source of enlightenment and inspiration about the capacity of social movements to catalyze transformative change -- as the anti-war, civil rights, Black Power and women's movements did during that turbulent era.