The harsh realities of war
DESCRIBED as ‘One man’s journey from hell,’ the story of Martin O’Meara VC comes to the stage next month in Under Any Old Gum Tree.
The award-winning production includes songs and music written and dedicated to O’Meara, exploring his life as he came from Ireland to WA and then from No Man’s Land to insanity during World War I.
Writer and director Noel O’Neill said it was a great tragedy for O’Meara, who fought in France and received the Victoria Cross, to spend 12 years in asylums and mental hospitals.
“It was due to post-traumatic stress, which wasn’t diagnosed until the Vietnam War,” he said.
“O’Meara was badly treated because they really were not equipped in those days to treat the mental horrors of war.
“The attitude was, ‘If a little medication helps, then a little more must help even more’ – but it caused quite a lot of damage.”
Under Any Old Gum Tree is at Shenton Park Community Centre, May 1 to 3.
Tickets at www.trybooking.com/HEGN.
Kieran Garvey (right) as Martin O’Meara VC and Rex Gray as his asylum attendant.