A MIDNIGHT CLEAR: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914 by Donna Latham

£5.00

Are people capable of peace? It is 1914, during the early months of WWI. Actions swings between No Man’s Land and the home front. Percy, promised he would be home for Christmas, wrestles with his religious beliefs and moral compass in the face of war’s new rules. With her loved ones entrenched in a war of attrition in No Man’s Land, Eugenie is entrenched in London’s home front. She defies Grandmama to take a nursing position in the hospital, determined to do her bit to help the war effort, hone her skills in medicine, and maintain hope. When the historic Christmas Truce of 1914 sweeps across the Western Front, peace is waged from the trenches up.

Description

CHARACTERS

Private Graham Asher—youngest of the soldiers; earnest, hungry Cockney; once in hospital determined to stay, E teens

Corporal Smith— jingoistic, alpha male; bullies the younger soldiers; views the world in black and white with fleeting moments of gray; M teens—20s

Corporal Percival Cavanaugh—optimistic literature student trying to maintain his morals in the face of war; M teens—20’s

Eugenie Cumberbatch—impulsive and progressive medical student; careening into a changing world, F teens—20’s

Bruno— fatalistic German immigrant and barber; speaks fluent English; a sniper during the war; M teens—20’s

Lillabeth—Eugenies’s practical best friend who works in a hat shop; clings to a pre-war way of life and gradually comes to realize she will never see Bruno again; F teens—20’s

Cornelius Cumberbatch—Eugenie’s jingoistic brother, afflicted with weak lungs; M teens—20’ s

Grandmama Cumberbatch—Victorian, proper and rigid, endlessly scandalized by Eugenie’s actions and determined to cling to the old ways; F 60’s+

Recruiter—initially pro-war but gradually realizes he is sending young men to their deaths; M 40’s+

Noah the Arcmeister—gay Scots Guard who flamboyantly tends a flea circus; M teens—20’ s

British Officer—devoted to duty, initially unwilling to negotiate; E 20’s+

German Officer— devoted to duty, but willing to negotiate; has a good command of English; E 20’s+

Nurse Wiggins—cheerfully manipulative veteran nurse, eager to pass on a problem patient to a novice; F 30’s+

Private Cagney aka Silent C—scrappy soldier in trench disguised as a man; later suffers flashbacks and shellshock in hospital; F teens

Wounded Soldier—M any age (can be offstage voice)

First German Soldier— friendly and open with a good command of English; acts as translator for Second German Soldier; E teens—20’s

Second German Soldier— a battlefield scavenger who speaks halting and broken bits of English and uses mimed actions to communicate to British; E teens—20’s

Optional extras/walk-ons: British soldiers
German soldiers
Soldiers in recruiting queues Bodies for burial

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

First Production: Batavia Arts Council, Batavia, Illinois, USA. Directed by Julane Sullivan. 2015

Article from Broadway World: https://www.broadwayworld.com/chicago/article/Batavia-Arts-Council-to-Premiere-A-MIDNIGHT-CLEAR-THE-CHRISTMAS-TRUCE-OF-1914-1218-20-20151124

 

REVIEWS

Beautifully drawn and empathetic characters, in this telling of the Christmas Truce. A heart wrenching testament of love, loss, hope, and the costs of war. Read this! Produce this! It’s a story that needs to be told. ” – Chelsea Frandsen, New Play Exchange

The war is brought home for a group of friends. Separation, sacrifice, and horror are confronted daily. The scenes bleed from one to another, pulled along by characters who leave one space and time for the next like ghosts. The play flows seamlessly using these elements. Superb use of period and regional speech and colloquialisms. Period treatment and consideration of issues around gender, class, sexual orientation, and nationalism. A beautiful and timely commentary on the costs of war. An especially good play for the Christmas holidays, offering a much appreciated break from the same old same old. Highly recommended. ” – Kelly McBurnette-Andronicus, New Play Exchange

 

RUNNING TIME

Approx 90 -120 minutes

 

PREVIEW

Preview available here

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