Granddad’s war story told in play
A new solo play by playwright, actor, dancer and choreographer Jan Bolwell tells the story of her grandfather’s war on the Western Front.
Bill Massey’s Tourists is the third in a trilogy of solo plays Bolwell has written about her family.
It is based on her grandfather, William Arthur Gardiner, who served in the Otago Mounted Rifles 18th Reinforcements.
Bolwell plays herself as adolescent and adult, her grandfather both young and old, his best mate Cyril, and a woman from the New Zealand Patriotic Society.
Though her grandfather is reluctant to talk about the war, Bolwell coaxes him to reveal what happened to him and his mates in the trenches of France and Flanders. Passchendaele is a focus of his war experiences on the Western front.
The play is directed by Kerryn Palmer and designed by Nicole Cosgrove.
Bolwell also wrote Standing on my Hands about her father’s WWII experiences in Egypt and Italy while Here’s Hilda! was about her grandmother.
Bill Massey’s Tourists is at the Auckland Army Centre, 204 Great North Road, Grey Lynn on July 12. Doors open at 6.45pm and the play starts at 7.30 pm.