The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel

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Original Broadway poster. Due to popular demand, the limited run was extended to September 3.

The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel is a play by David Rabe.

Rabe's first play in his Vietnam War trilogy that continued with Sticks and Bones and Streamers, its story is bracketed by scenes depicting the death of the emotionally stunted and mentally disturbed title character, who mindlessly grabs at a live hand grenade tossed into the Saigon brothel he's visiting. A born loser who is drafted into the United States Army, Hummel immediately encounters difficulties with both his sergeants and fellow recruits, none of whom trust him. As he stumbles through basic training and comes ever closer to the battlefield, he is guided by Ardell, a mysteriously ambiguous character who seemingly is an officer but serves as Hummel's conscience and a Greek chorus-like figure as well. Although injured repeatedly, Hummel is so determined to be a soldier he passes up a chance to go home, a decision that ultimately proves fatal.

Under the auspices of the New York Shakespeare Festival, the off-Broadway production, directed by Jeff Bleckner, opened on May 19, 1971 at The Public Theater. The cast included William Atherton as Hummel, Albert Hall as Ardell, and Joe Fields as Sgt. Tower

For the Broadway production, Pavlo Hummel was brought to the Longacre Theatre in April 1977, directed by David Wheeler. Previews began on April 14 and ran for eleven performances before opening on April 24, 1977 for 117 performances. The cast included Al Pacino as Hummel, Gustave Johnson as Ardell, and Joe Fields reprising his role as Sgt. Tower.

Cast[edit]

Off Broadway Production[edit]

Actor
Role
William Atherton Pavlo Hummel
Victoria Racimo Yen / Second Viet Cong
Albert Hall Ardell
Joe Fields Sgt. Tower
Earl Hindman Kress
Peter Cameron Parker
Rovert Lehman Pierce
Anthony R. Charnota Cpl. Ferrara
Edward Hermann Hinkle
Frederick Coffin Mickey
Sloane Shelton Mrs. Hummel
Garrett Moris Jones
Christal Kim Mama-san
Lee Wallace Sgt. Brisbey
John Benson Sgt. Wall
Bob Delegall Parham
Edward Cannan Captain Saunders / Captain Miller / Lieutenant Smith
Steven Clarke Burns
Edward Cannan Captain Saunders
John Walter Davis Ryan
D. Franklyn Lenthall Hendrix
Hoshin Seki First Viet Cong / Farmer

Broadway Production[edit]

Cast
Role
Al Pacino Pavlo Hummel
Tisa Chang Yen / Second Viet Cong
Gustave Johnson Ardell
Joe Fields Sgt. Tower
Larry Bryggman Kress
Max Wright Parker
Lance Henriksen Pierce
Jack Kehon Corporal Jackson
Paul Guilfoyle Hinkle
Ron Hunter Mickey
Andrea Masters Mrs. Sorrentino
Rebecca Drake Mrs. Hummel
Don Blakely Jones
Anne Miyamoto Mama-san / Farmer
Richard Lynch Sgt. Brisbey
Sully Boyar Sgt. Wall
Damien Leake Parham
Cameron Mason Various Vietnamese
Gary Bolling Burns / Private Grennel
Brad Sullivan Captain Saunders
Michael Dinelli Ryan
John Aquino Hendrix
Kevin Maung Gomez / First Viet Cong / Vietnamese Boy

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards
  • 1971 Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Director – Jeff Bleckner
  • 1971 Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright – David Rabe
  • 1971 Obie Award for Distinguished Direction – Jeff Bleckner
  • 1971 Theatre World Award – William Atherton
  • 1977 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play – Al Pacino
  • 1977 Theatre World Award - Joe Fields
  • 1977 Tony Award for Best Actor in Play – Al Pacino
Nominations
  • 1977 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play – Joe Fields

External links[edit]