Excitement is building for the first show of the resuscitated theatre program at the Fond du Lac campus of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is slated Dec. 1-3 at Prairie Theatre at 400 University Drive.
The production by Peter Rothstein recounts a moment in World War I history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas together, sharing food and drink and singing carols. The story is told through the words of poets, official war documents, diary entries and letters written by more than 30 WWI soldiers.
“At a time when contention, division and ire are all around us, I believe it will be a healing experience for people to attend this show,” said Christopher Flieller, director and theatre lecturer on the Fond du Lac campus. “As we approach the holiday season, it’s good to remember that there still exists the possibility of finding common ground among all of the discord. Also, it’s the first opportunity, after a long hiatus, for people to come together and support live theatre on the Fond du Lac campus.”
Flieller said the production has the possibility of enhancing the season for attendees―he believes coming together with a group of relative strangers to share an inspiring story is a great way to start reflecting on the meaning of the holidays.
“This show makes the point, without preaching or polemic, that sometimes the courageous thing to do is not to take up arms against an enemy, but to lay down your arms and recognize the humanity of others,” the director said.
He notes that almost every word of the show is taken from letters home, reminiscences or statements of record from the people who lived through it. He describes the music of the show as “beautifully arranged” and able to bring home the power of music to break down barriers and bring people together.
The play incorporates music of the time and many beloved Christmas carols. It features 12 performers who are UWO theatre students and members of the community.
Music direction is by Eva Thelen-Dunphy.
General seating, donations accepted at the door at The Prairie Theatre, 400 University Drive, Fond du Lac.
The production takes place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2 and 3.