The Institute, Coming of Age during the Vietnam War, is set in the years 1967 through 1971, but the issues it raises about war and about sending the youth of America to fight in foreign lands is just as relevant today as it was in those bygone days.
The Institute is a coming of age story, a look at how boys turn into men and shape their own world views about duty, country and themselves. It begins at their 45-year high school reunion as the now senior citizens look back on their youth and then flashes back to their first day of high school in 1967.
These young men, all for vastly different reasons, have decided to attend a Catholic military high school, one of only two in the country at the time, during the height of the Vietnam War. What’s more, they’ve picked a school on the edge of New York’s Greenwich Village, a counter-culture hotbed and the site of a bomb-making factory for the then-notorious Weather Underground anti-war movement.
If you think it all sounds too fanciful to have actually happened, think again. The play is based on playwright john N. Frank’s own high school years at just such a school.
“Those years were full of chaos,” recalls Frank. “We all faced the prospect of being drafted into the war, riots were common on the streets of the U.S. and buildings were being blown up by those opposed to the U.S. government. The parallels to today are many.”
The Institute, as their school is called, provides the boys shelter from the chaos beyond its walls, but even it is not immune to the forces reshaping America in the 1960s.
Buy your tickets today for the 2nd Act Players’ production of The Institute, simply click here. Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sundays at 3:30.