LONG TAN (2017)
A semi-verbatim theatre piece for 12 actors, produced in headphone theatre style by Brink Productions, directed by Chris Drummond, Space Theatre, April 2017.
The play depicts The Battle of Long Tan - the most historic Australian battle of the Vietnam War which took place on a hot, rain-sodden afternoon in 1966. In the glutinous mud of a rubber plantation in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, 105 Australian and three New Zealand soldiers clashed with approximately 2,500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troops. In the ensuing battle, 18 Australians died (17 were killed in action and one died of wounds 9 days later) and more than 245 communist Vietnamese. LONG TAN is composed from interviews with the surviving Australian soldiers, Vietnamese contributors and family and friends of those who died. It is both a work about a contentious time and iconic battle, and a meditation on the fractures in collective memory, and the consequences of extreme demands on human beings in military conflict.
“In what she describes as a ‘semi-verbatim’ play Verity Laughton has painstakingly gathered first-hand interview material, as well as official sources, to retell the experiences of the soldiers under fire, alongside Vietnamese perspectives. It is a compelling text, anchored in authentic witness, but skilfully shaped as narrative as well. The voices of real people provide their (sometimes conflicting) versions of events and emotions and this outstanding Brink production, commandingly directed by Chris Drummond, honours their courage and their candour… theatrically memorable…Long Tan is a fine play about a tragic event and this exceptional production deserves a life far beyond this short season.”
Murray Bramwell, The Australian
‘A moving and personal window into a dark corner of our country’s history.’
Jo Vabolis, Indaily
“A profound and often moving experience.”
Peter Burdon, The Advertiser