Streamers was first performed in 1976. The work is a play written by David Rabe that is set in an American army barracks. The men there are preparing to sail out to fight in southeast Asia. The play highlights the interactions between a group of very diverse soldiers and all of their conflicts, between one another and within themselves. The soldiers include African Americans Roger and Carlyle, Richie, who doesn’t know his sexual orientation, Billy, who is a country boy from Wisconsin, their experienced and alcoholic Sergeant Cokes, and anxious and aggressive Sergeant Rooney.
The title, Streamers, comes from the term that describes parachutes that do not open when they’re supposed to. The dysfunctional and defective image of the title reflects on the complicated themes that Rabe explores in the play. At first, the play was only one act long, but Rabe added onto it and made it into a full-length one when he was working in Connecticut, and it was first performed in 1976.