Birmingham Stage Company

World War

26 January 2009

I don't think there can be a harder subject to bring to the stage than the First World War - an utterly futile and hopeless episode in human history. Even harder to bring it before an audience of 11+ teenagers, who must be slightly bewildered and perhaps a little jaded by the black and white images of people who lived so long ago.

But in a week's time we will do just that with the Frightful First World War - our latest HORRIBLE HISTORIES production in conjunction with the Woeful Second World War for 6+. Thankfully we've managed to pull together a fantastic team of actors and creatives and judging by the rehearsal on Saturday, it will hit exactly the right note between humour and horror, bringing out the absurdity of the conflict while hitting you squarely between the eyes with the sheer waste of ordinary young lives. In the middle of cheery of war songs I suddenly found myself welling up at one song which captures the situation swallowing up millions of men. And the story of Paul, a young man who never made it to the end, is beautifully created in the drama of the production.


WW2 is slightly easier in that it concentrates on the story of Sally and Alf who get evacuated to darkest Wales, but in representing the bombing of Coventry in 3D at the end of the show, the task is still to engage the children with Sally's adventure, while demonstrating the real consequences of war on a civilian population.

WW1 and WW2. I'm glad we only have to go through it all on stage!

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