|Something happened up in Quang Tri Province to Eddie Slusarczyk
and the guys he gew up with when they served together in Vietnam. Now they
all hang out at Sluzy’s bar on Chicago’s Northwest Side where
Sluzy lives for his kid Gary an all-star quarterback. But Gary washes out
at college. In his anger and confusion he joins the Marines and ends up
in Baghdad where the post-invasion insurgency is in full swing.
Most of the action of the play takes place in Eddie’s bar where the front door leads out into his quiet Chicago neighborhood. But out the backdoor a war is raging in the streets of Baghdad and Gary’s Marine unit is about to break in to a family home to arrest a suspected insurgent.
When Gary’s platoon is accused of killing civilians, Sluzy finds himself questioning the war. In order to defend his son he take on the press and its attendant media circus until his own army service becomes a serious issue for him and for his oldest friends, all of whom want to bury the past. “There was more bad in that war than there was good in us,” one of his friends tells him. But Sluzy has to fight back. In order to defend his son he has to defend himself and face what happened “up in the Z,” the demilitarized zone, one really bad night back in ’69. In the end Sluzy turns radically against the war in in the process finds himself.
Quang Tri/Baghdad is a play about the power of war to
overwhelm our best instincts and about the moral courage to speak out
against the conventional wisdom in spite of the roar and distortion of