The Theater: Rags of Honor

THE BASIC TRAINING OF PAVLO HUMMEL

by DAVID RABE

A couple of G.I.s popping open beer cans with Mama-san and her whores. Through the bead curtain, a hand lobs a lump of steel. Thump and roll. "Grenade!" Soldier scoops it up, hesitates in stupid disbelief. FLASH! BLAM! So begins—and 140 minutes later, in an almost exact replay, so ends—The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Between these two unanswerable exclamation points, Playwright David Rabe strings the lifeline of the soldier, Pavlo; then on that cord he attempts to hang what he sees as the rags of national honor, bloodied by the Viet Nam War.

To...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!