"I don'twant people to go, 'Oh no, not another Vietnam story!' " says Stephen Hayes, director of Amlin Gray's black comedy "How I Got That Story."

The play, which begins the Source Theatre's 11th season, is, according to Hayes, "a story of a guy up against something that can't be figured out ... "

The "guy" is a western journalist (played by Scott Smith) who's obsessed with finding the perfect angle for his story about war in the mythical eastern country of Am Bo Land. But the more he sees, the more he tries to make sense of things, the more this "carnival," as Hayes puts it, eludes him.

The only other actor in "How I Got That Story" is Michael Judge, who plays a galaxy of roles including a geisha girl, a black marketeer, a hippie photographer, a Buddhist monk, a wire service chief and the dragon-lady leader of the Am Bo Land government. The idea, says Hayes, is to show the shifting faces of war.

Serious drama, yes, but "not a documentary." And, he adds, it has "some dark laughs along the way."

"How I Got That Story" opens Friday and runs through Sunday, Oct. 18. Show times vary. The Source Theatre is at 1809 14th St. NW. For more information, call 462-1073.