Voices From Vietnam, a multi-reader performance piece takes the stage in the Springfield Art Museum's auditorium on November 16 at 7 PM. This free performance is a part of the public program schedule that compliments the Museum's current special exhibition, Veteran's Views, a juried photography exhibition featuring veterans from all over the country, including 30 local veterans.
Voices From Vietnam was first presented on Veteran's Day 1985 at Missouri State University. It is written by OTC English Instructor Larry Rottman, a Vietnam War veteran. The piece is based on Rottman's combat experiences, as well as numerous post-war visits and interviews with soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The production is directed by Mark Biggs, the Associate Dean of MSU's College of Arts & Letters, and features original music by MSU's Ray Castrey, emeritus staff in MSU's Theatre & Dance department and a former director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy.
Since its 1985 debut, the piece has been performed at college campuses and other venues across the country, including The University of Missouri-Columbia, Harvard, Notre Dame, The Air Force Academy, and West Point Military Academy, among many others. Rottman, Biggs, and Castrey have collaborated on two award-winning documentary films,The Bicycle Doctors, about medical care in Hue, Vietnam, and As Seen By Both Sides, which documents the first art exhibit by both Vietnamese and American military veterans. Several metal gongs and native instruments featured in the performance were collected by Castrey during a visit to Vietnam. Some were fashioned from artillery shells, and tank and plane parts, turning instruments of war into the music of peace.
Voices From Vietnam features the voices of Mark Biggs, Lyle Foster, Jim Terry, Joe Terry, and Richard Turner. The performance runs for about an hour and deals frankly with the subject of war. It may be inappropriate for children younger than 13. This event is free and open to the public and tickets are not required. The Springfield Art Museum is located at 1111 East Brookside Drive