Javeenbah's cast of Minefields & Miniskirts act out the experiences of war.
Javeenbah's cast of Minefields & Miniskirts act out the experiences of war.

Tales of women's experience in Vietnam on stage

THIS year marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, one of the most significant  battles fought by Australians in the Vietnam War. 

In April, Javeenbah Theatre on the Gold Coast honours the occasion by staging a production of Minefields & Miniskirts, an engaging and frank recollection of how five Australian women experienced the Vietnam War. 

Just as the stories of Australian men's experiences run deep, so too do those of the thousand Australian women who served in the conflict. 

The play is taken from the pages of Siobhan McHugh's 1993 publication of the same name.

In it, McHugh transposed myriad oral histories of women whose lives became intertwined with the conflict - nurses, entertainers, journalists, volunteers and the wives of veterans.

Javeenbah production's director, Gaye Gay, feels this grounding gives the play an unparalleled authenticity.

"The power of Minefields & Miniskirts comes mostly from the truth of its dialogue," Gaye said.  

"Each of the characters is retelling stories from real people who were part of the Vietnam War.

"Nothing is 'made up'. Everything is as remembered from that time in a country so far away and different from our own.

 "Most of the dialogue is verbatim for the real women's recollections."

Cast member Kaela Gray said it was a pleasant surprise to find humour woven through the piece.

"I honestly was expecting it to be constant heavy-going," she said.

The dialogue is punctuated by iconic songs of the era, each highlighting a poignant moment experienced by the women.

Gaye says the talented cast and crew of Minefields and Miniskirts had worked long and hard to weave a special kind of magic for its upcoming season. 

Minefields & Miniskirts runs from Friday, April 1, to Saturday, April 16, at the theatre, cnr Stevens and Ferry Sts, Nerang. Tickets are available by calling 07 5596 0300 or by visiting javeenbah.org.au.

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