One of my first true loves is theatre, and I feel privileged to be working on Letters From the Great War, a new Remembrance Day piece for Soulpepper Theatre Company. Conceived by musician, Roaring Girl Records label-owner, Sawdust City Music Festival founder and all-around human force Miranda Mulholland, this commemorative piece features songs from or about WW1 interspersed with live readings of actual letters sent during the war.
It is a humbling and harrowing experience to hear these letters read aloud. The naked longing for home and horrific conditions of the trenches are heart-wrenching, but the moments of humour, hope, and quirks of personality are really what shine. The letters are written by soldiers, nurses, mothers and sweethearts, renowned artists and literary figures- such as L.M. Montgomery and Frederick Varley– and everyday people with no historic claim to fame other than the incredible service they provided for their country during the war. Paired with an inspired list of songs, I believe Letters From the Great War is a moving and appropriate commemoration of The Great War, and one that I am very proud to be part of.
I have powerful memories of the Remembrance Day assemblies I participated in at school. The combination of video, song, and the laying of the wreaths was a very effective way to reflect on the wars and acknowledge the loss and sacrifice of so many. In some ways, Letters From the Great War feels like a grown-up Remembrance Day assembly, featuring some of the very best talent Canada has to offer, and an intimate space for people to reflect, connect and remember,
Letters From the Great War is on-stage at Soulpepper November 10 & 11, 2018.