Friday, July 12, 2024

Peace & War

Submitted by Greg Brown

On the eve of Remembrance Day, Meaford Community Theatre presents Peace & War, a reflection on conflicts of the last century, on stage at Meaford Hall. This annual community production features four short dramas and a variety of songs by local musicians.

The Master of Ceremonies for the show is a soldier from the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford.

One of the stories is set 100 years ago amidst the death and destruction of the First World War, when soldiers in the trenches at the battlefront laid down their rifles at Christmas. Enemies met in no-man’s land for a few hours to exchange cigarettes and gifts in this spontaneous effort by the lower ranks to create peace. Two actors bring this remarkable moment in history to life.

The Depression of the 1930’s left many Canadians, especially young men, in a desperate situation with no job and no prospects for a better future. When Canada declared war on Germany in 1939 these young men saw an opportunity for a paycheque and adventure in foreign lands. Howard’s Story is about a Canadian who was in New Zealand looking for work when the war began, signed up with a New Zealand regiment, and found himself fighting in the desert of North Africa. The dialogue for this drama is taken from letters he mailed home as well as from a nurse who attended to Gunner H.E. Brown near the front lines in November 1942.

One of the effects of war is that children grow up faster than they should. Even in Canada, which has not seen a major war fought on its soil, children lose their youthful innocence during times of war. Schooldays takes place in any small town in Canada during WWII, asa young girl tries to make sense of what is happening.

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s tens of thousands of American war resisters came to Canada as opposition to the war in Vietnam grew. An actor portrays one of these draft dodgers as he looks back on those days of turmoil and explains why he made the choice he did.

Music for Peace & War is a mix of popular songs from World War II and more recent war ballads sung by high school students and Lyrica of the Georgian Bay Children’s Choir, conducted by Jennifer Potter.

Financial support provided by Veterans Affairs Canada is used to offer complimentary tickets to veterans and 250 students. Reserved seats for the 7:30pm performance on Monday, November 10th are available at the Meaford Hall box office for $12.

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