Reviewed by Brad Morden
60 mins | Comedy Drama | R
Breaking Rank is a fascinating story, told with detail that could only be captured by a man who was there himself. This one man autobiographical drama offers up a front row seat as GI Howard Petrick endeavors to fight against the Vietnam war from within the war itself.
With excellent use of stage and voice, the audience was able to follow every step of the way as we were introduced to over 20 different characters representing a wide variety of positions in the armed forces and positions on the war. The main character (Petrick himself, drawing on his experiences in Vietnam) is caught in a difficult situation: a model soldier whose growing anti-war sentiments place him deeply at odds with his environment.
The anti-war movement among soldiers is an interesting angle to approach a war that has a deeply divisive past, a division that we have mostly seen played out here in North America. Drawing on the differences amongst the soldiers brings a fresh take and, with Petrick’s autobiographical touch, a deep honesty about the war.
Though not a natural actor, Petrick is able to hold the audience by the mere force of the story being told and the sincerity with which it is portrayed. This is truly an important part of American history that should appeal to all those who lived through this period, or who are interested in hearing the true story of a man called to speak truth to power.
Breaking Rank by Howard Petrick is playing at Venue 2 – Arts Court Library (2 Daly) on Saturday June 16 at 1:30pm, Sunday June 17 at 7:30pm, Tuesday June 19 at 10:00pm, Wednesday June 20 at 7:00pm, and Sunday June 24 at 6:00pm. Tickets are $10.