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All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is a plea for peace and a fundraiser for the LSCO

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All is Calm this Christmas for the LSCO (Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization.)Stephen Graham rehearses for All is Calm. Photo by Richard Amery
 Director Fran Rude and musical director and actor Ken Rogers have taken on a monumental task in bringing Peter Rothstein’s musical All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, which was first performed in 2008.  All is Calm runs  at  7:30 p.m., Nov. 22 and 23 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 24.

“It’s about the first Christmas during the first year of the First World War when German, British, Italian, Flemish and Scottish troops came out of the trenches to celebrate Christmas together. That‘s it in a nutshell, but there‘s a lot more to it than that,” said director Fran Rude, who directed a sold out run of the Titanic last year and Jesus Christ Superstar the year before that to raise money for LSCO programming, which is where all the proceeds from this production will be going to.
“It’s definitely the most challenging production I’ve ever done,” Rude continued.

“There are 12 actors playing 39 roles and singing 30 songs totally a capella,” she continued.
“ I came to the first rehearsal with every scene blocked out on paper, but because  there is no orchestra, they all have to be facing each other for their cues. There are very intricate harmonies. And they have to sing and then step out of the song to address the audience, then go back into the song without missing their pitch,” she enthused.

The cast includes familiar faces from the Lethbridge theatre and music scene including Joseph Adams; Stephen Graham;  Kade Hogg; Tyler Leavitt; Graeme McFarlane; Jon Northcott; Tanner Orr; Don Robb; Ken Rogers; Josh Sherwood; Jeffrey Steed; Brenton Taylor; Dylan Taylor.

 Don Robb plays the mailman, delivering  letters to the front line and ends the show by playing Last  Post on trumpet.
“All of the dialogue is authentic. It comes from letters and poems these men wrote. Not a preposition has been added,” Rude continued.
“It is a plea for peace. It is just as relevant today It really  showcases these actors voices, both singing and acting,” she continued, noting when she was looking for a new show  to put on, she discovered this show playing off Broadway in New York City and did a lot of some research and read a few effusive reviews before bringing it here.

“  I just had to do it. It is such a unique show,” she said, adding the actors have been rehearsing for it since August.
“ There are five parts. it begins  very uplifting as volunteers get ready to go to war, not knowing what is in store for them. Then they begin to realize what war is really like. Then there is the actual Christmas truce,” she said.

Stephen Graham rehearses for All is Calm. Photo by Richard Amery
“ But what I really like about it is there isn’t a shot fired in the play. It ends in the audience’s imagination,” she said.

“It is really relatable. You really learn about the costs of war.”
 Ken Rogers found the production to be a challenge, albeit an enjoyable challenge.
“The music is all written out. It comes as a package. There are up to eight part vocal harmonies. Most of them are very complex 4,5 and 6 part harmonies,” he said.

“ But there are a lot of  World War  One era songs and , of course a lot of Christmas carols. So it’s very traditional,” he continued, adding the 12 actors are on stage at all times.
“ So there are no mental breaks art all in the show. We have to remember the songs the dialogue and, because we all play several different characters, we also have to remember the different accents. There’s a mix of different characters, Germans, British, Italians, feisty Scots and a lot more” he said, adding he is enjoying playing an upper class British officer.
“That’ s been a lot of fun,” he said.

“But I’ve really enjoyed working with the other guys and singing with them. We have a lot of fun,” he said.

“People are going to see something they have never seen before. I’ve never done anything like this in 30 years of theatre,” he said.
tickets are $44 because it is a fundraiser.
 All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 runs at the Yates Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m on Sunday, Nov. 24.
 Tickets are $44.

— by Richard Amery,L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 November 2019 02:01 )  
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