Diplomacy is a powerful screenplay by Tim Carlson, tangled between the personal memories of the Vietnam War and the reality of Canadian peacekeeping missions. Elana Chan attended the emotionally charged performance at the re-vamped Vancouver East Cultural Centre.
A powerful display of emotional reactions versus seeming logical reasoning, Diplomacy follows the story of Roy, a historian teaching at a Canadian university who deserted the Canadian army during the Vietnam War. His life, more accurately, his opinion peacekeeping, takes an 180-degree turn when his Vietnamese-born wife commits suicide as a protest to Canada’s continual participation to peacekeeping missions in the Middle East. Meanwhile, his daughter An continues to serve overseas as a Canadian diplomat in Damascus, while his journalist best friend Sinclair tries to convinces Roy that his late wife’s attempt is not stupid but honourable, and the necessity to broadcast her statement for the sake of public interest.
Tim Carlson challenges his audience to examine the topic of Canada’s role in the international arena: What is our eventual goal of our peacekeeping missions – to be the victor or to help those in need at the war front? Can we accomplish both? Rather than narrating the series of events taken place, Diplomacy tells its story through the characters’ heated debates and historical news clips, all in Roy’s own backyard. Using the personal memories of Vietnam War as metaphor, Carlson suggests that peacekeeping 40 years ago was not very different from today’s.
Playing in a simple yet aesthetic theatrical set in the cozy VECC until November 11, 2006, Tim Carlson’s Diplomacy showers audience with the combined energy of sentiments and volatile attempts in reasoning. Check it out for yourself!