Presented by Brink Productions in association with State Theatre Company and Adelaide Festival Centre
By Verity Laughton
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 brings together a cast of 12 South Australian actors in an immersive audio-theatre production that will parachute audiences into the soldiers’ experience – gunfire, mortar fire, pounding rain, insect clouds, screams and sudden silence – all orchestrated with sonic intensity to capture the pandemonium and entrapment under fire.
Adelaide’s acclaimed Brink Productions (When the Rain Stops Falling) will create this theatrical event from a semi-verbatim text by award-winning playwright Verity Laughton. Composed from interviews with the surviving Australian soldiers, Vietnamese contributors and family and friends of those who died, Long Tan isn’t simply a work about a contentious time and iconic battle. Rather, it’s a meditation on the fractures in collective memory, the consequences of extreme demands on human beings in military conflict, and the need for forgiveness, empathy and faith in our common humanity.
Run time: 1hr 45 mins (no interval)