Howard Petrick was drafted to serve in a war he didn’t believe in (Vietnam) but didn’t want to break any laws. This left both him and the military in a hard place. In Breaking Rank, Howard Petrick himself tells you the story by taking on a myriad of different characters he encountered during his time in the army.
Howard Petrick tells you why you should see it:
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Interestingly, 2011 Fringe ended with me unexpectedly going to see Padre X, a war-themed story, in Arts Court Library, that was surprisingly good. 2012 Fringe ended with me somewhat unexpectedly going to see Breaking Rank, a war-themed story, in Arts Court Library, that was surprisingly good. Going in to Breaking Rank I didn’t really know what to expect and, honestly, I expected a bit of propaganda piece (not that I even know why I thought that).
Breaking Rank is Howard Petrick’s story, told by Howard Petrick through the voices of many a soul he encountered living through it. Howard Petrick was drafted into the army during the Vietnam war, which he didn’t believe in. Through his induction, basic training, and his assignment (in the U.S., he never made it overseas) he was vocal about his anti-war sentiment and while he was branded a troublemaker, there was nothing the army could do about him so long as he followed regulations, which he did.
This led to a lot of very humorous situations which Petrick confidently re-enacts on stage, playing a myriad of characters in an easy to follow way. He takes us through a great series of anecdotes from his refusing to fill out his induction papers, to getting his “Know Your Enemy” class canceled to raising awareness among his fellows about the truth behind the war – all in the interest of free speech.
It’s a great story, a lot funnier, and a lot better acted/characterized than I had expected, and I’m glad I got the chance to take it in. High three.
Photos for this article taken for Production Ottawa by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho.