Tracing the Tale of Tracers: A Deep Dive
by Rasi A on Aug 28, 2023
An Unexpected Beginning
The journey of Tracers began unexpectedly. After serving in the military, John DiFusco moved to LA, embracing the theater world. One night, a chance encounter with a fellow veteran changed everything. This veteran felt betrayed by war movies that painted unrealistic pictures. Showing off bullet scars, he exclaimed, "they shot the heck out of me!"
Returning from that emotional conversation, DiFusco's emotions got the best of him, resulting in a near-accident. When questioned by the police, his recent return from Vietnam seemed the only reason. Such intense feelings made him realize that veterans deserved better recognition and understanding.
The Birth of a Play
Tracers was born out of these raw emotions. As DiFusco worked in Los Angeles as an actor and director, he turned his war experiences into theater. The initial shows at the Odyssey Theatre struggled for attention. However, it soon became an avenue for people to connect with veterans and to truly welcome them back.
After gaining attention in Chicago, DiFusco collaborated with the Vietnam Veterans Ensemble Theater company in New York. There, he met Tom Bird and struck a deal with the New York Public Theater's Joseph Papp. This partnership paved the way for Tracers to be showcased at multiple venues, with casts consisting of war veterans, celebrating their stories.
The Journey Continues
The impact of Tracers didn't stop in New York. It evolved into "The Long Way Home – Reflections on the Tracers Journey", highlighting the deeper insights behind the play. John DiFusco's involvement with Keith Jeffreys, the founder of the US Veterans Artists Alliance, led to more collaborative ventures. Both sought to blend history, entertainment, and education seamlessly.
DiFusco initially believed Tracers would be a short-lived project. Yet, it took over his life, echoing the sentiment: "You carry it with you. It never goes away." The play became a symbol, connecting generations and ensuring the tales of veterans remained vibrant and alive.
Upcoming Productions and Venues
For those eager to experience this masterpiece, "The Long Way Home – Reflections on the Tracers Journey" is currently showcased by Rogue Machine and United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance. The venue is the USVAA Theater in Culver City, with shows available through November 24. Interestingly, while there’s no mention of a tiered dress in the play, fashion enthusiasts might still appreciate the costume design and stage aesthetics.
Tickets are affordably priced, and veterans get complimentary access. Student and senior tickets have special discounts, making it accessible for all. Don't miss out on this enlightening experience!
A Glimpse of John DiFusco
Behind this evocative play is the talented John DiFusco. With numerous awards under his belt, including the USAF Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service in Vietnam, DiFusco's career has been remarkable. From the Odyssey Theatre to global stages, his works have left indelible marks.
Tracers, especially, remains one of his crowning achievements, even listed as one of “The Ten Best of 85/86.” As he continues to contribute to theater, audiences await with bated breath, hoping for more masterpieces that touch the soul as Tracers did.