The American Soldier
Douglas Taurel depicts the plight of the American soldier
This article is from 2015.
The broad title marks out The American Soldier as an ambitious work, aiming to capture the experience of several generations of servicemen who have faced up to the grim realities of war. Douglas Taurel is an actor whose powerful presence sets a grave tone. The problem is that The American Soldier bites off more than it can chew; the sketches featured in his one-man show don’t amount to a rounded picture, and the result, while strong in places, lacks a sense of dramatic unity.
The mention of Valley Forge in the opening monologue sets the parameters for a journey through American history, taking Taurel through Vietnam and up to date with Afghanistan; from aggressive dope-smoking grunts to lovelorn soldiers, there’s a range of characters to describe. Unfortunately the vignettes are decidedly one note; war is hell, for all concerned, but repeated motifs, such as an obsession with breasts, throw little light and make too many of the men seem far too generic and similar to each other.
The American Soldier aims too high in terms of scope and features too many insufficiently differentiated character studies to satisfy; Taurel has real talent, but his one-man show needs fine-tuning to be a satisfying take on the subject.
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