Vietnam War told as cabaret

20:00, Sep 03 2014
War cabaret
WAR WOUNDS: UCOL Performing Arts Diploma students prepare for their final project, War: A Cabaret.

Fifty years ago Manawatu soldiers began shipping out to fight in Vietnam.

Twenty years ago a group of Vietnam veterans told their stories to Te Manawa.

And next week UCOL performing arts students will honour the soldiers' sacrifices by performing War: A Cabaret.

The cabaret is based on Te Manawa's 1994 oral history project, with the stories of two Manawatu soldiers told between musical and dance numbers.

Diploma programme leader Jaime Dorner-Alvarez said the cabaret medium was a powerful way to tell New Zealand's Vietnam War stories - stories which were often forgotten.

"We strongly believe the arts should help people remember these things."


He said that the show was a cabaret but that didn't take away from it being a political statement.

"It's about war destroying not only those killed, but those behind the guns."

The cabaret is an ensemble piece, meaning all involved get their turn in the spotlight.

Diploma students Kelly Nixey and Bethany Keene said it was good to be learning more about New Zealand's role in the Vietnam War and the toll it took on those involved.

Nixey said it had been hard work getting the show ready to perform.

"I didn't think it would be this full on or that it would affect me this much."

She said although it featured singing and dancing, this didn't lighten up the subject matter.

"It's not all jazz hands and ‘look at me saluting'."

Keene said the show being based on the experiences of veterans, told in their own words, made it much more meaningful.

"Before this the only idea I had about the war was from Good Morning Vietnam."

Keene said those interested should head along and check the cabaret out for themselves.

"It's important to honour those who went over there even though it was a tragedy. They still gave their lives for Queen and country."

- War: A Cabaret is being performed at the Awapuni Function Centre's Eulogy Lounge, September 10-13. Bookings through Suzy Hawes:

Manawatu Standard