ArtsCenter Stage will present the Southeast premiere of All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, a 2007 radio musical drama by Peter Rothstein, with musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, on Dec. 7-9 and 13-16 in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC.
The ArtsCenter Stage production will feature the Cantari Men’s Ensemble — which includes Dale Bailey, Eric Dashman, Adam Dengler, Ryan Frazer, Scott Goodwin, John Irwin, Darin Knapp, John Paul Middlesworth, Michael Shannon, David Sroka, and Graham White — under the direction of Sue Klausmeyer.
According to The ArtsCenter:
“A remarkable event took place in 1914, the first year of World War One, one that was never to be repeated, where peace triumphed over war. On Christmas Eve, thousands of German and English soldiers put down their guns and left their trenches to meet their enemies in No Man’s Land. They exchanged gifts of tobacco, rum, and chocolates, even photographs of loved ones. They sang songs, played a game of soccer, and buried each other’s dead.
“All Is Calm combines the a cappella singing of trench songs, patriotic tunes, and Christmas carols along with text taken from letters, journals, war documents, poetry, grave stone inscriptions, and even an old radio broadcast. All is Calm commemorates an extraordinary moment in history where the words ‘Peace on Earth’ are reinvested with their true meaning….
“All Is Calm is a story of heroes. Young men march off to war amid patriotic songs. Within a few short months, their dream of returning home glorious by Christmas time is trampled as a stalemate of trench warfare takes hold.
“Celebrating Christmas Eve, one brave soldier determines to extend a Christmas tiding to the other side — soon men are rising out of their trenches, exchanging gifts, photographs, stories, songs — all in the spirit of Christmas. Too soon, the men are ordered back to the trenches and one solider muses ‘Could it have happened? If we had decided to end the fighting, could we have stopped the war?'”
In addition to musical direction of Sue Klausmeyer, the ArtsCenter Stage creative team for All Is Calm includes producer and director Jeri Lynn Schulke, scenic designer Michael Brocki, lighting designer and stage manager Lawruh Lindsey, costume designer Chelsea Kurtzman, video designer Adam Graetz, and dialect coach Jeffrey Meanza.
In reviewing the December 2007 world-premiere production of All Is Calm, Graydon Royce of the Minneapolis, MN Star Tribune wrote:
“… We are asked to imagine the wonder of tired, soaked Brits looking up and seeing a single German standing above his trench, singing Stille Nacht [Silent Night]. We see in our mind’s eye — and feel in our heart — the rush of emotions as these tired fellows clamber over the barbed wire to greet the enemy soldier in No Man’s Land.
“‘It was as if we had decided to end the fighting all by ourselves,’ wrote one Tommy….”
ArtsCenter Stage presents ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914 at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, 8 p.m. Dec. 13-15, and 3 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater at The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510.
TICKETS: $16 in advance and $18 the day of the show, except $4-per-ticket discounts for students and seniors 62+ and $13 for ArtsCenter Friends.
BOX OFFICE: 919-929-2787, ext 201, or http://www.etix.com/.
All Is Calm (radio play): http://www.alliscalm.org/ (official website).
Peter Rothstein: http://www.peter-rothstein.com/ (official website).
The Christmas Truce of 1914: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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