Solo show on WWI
Play about life during World War I to visit Twizel.
A one-woman-show will detail one man’s experience of the Western Front.
Bill Massey’s Tourists is written and performed by Kiwi performer Jan Bolwell. She will perform in Twizel on Thursday.
The play is about her grandfather Arthur’s experiences during World War I. She performs as an adolescent version of herself doing a school project about the war, trying to get him to talk about it.
Arthur was a member of the Otago Mounted Rifles and he emerged from the war reluctant to share his experiences.
‘‘As the play goes on, he reveals more and more of the story of what happened to him and his friends at the Western Front.’’
Bolwell relied on childhood memories and stories from her family to put the play together. It was underpinned by research and visits to battlefields in France and Belgium.
‘‘I couldn’t really write it on an emotional level without going to that land where so much tragedy happened to New Zealand soldiers.
‘‘I just feel I had to stand on that earth.’’
She was conscious of wanting to perform the play during the 2017 and 2018 centennial years. ‘‘This is the time to tell the story really.’’
Bolwell has been performing the show intermittently since 2014. Bill Massey’s Tourists was ‘‘a play for all New Zealanders,’’ she said.
Bill Massey’s Tourists is on at the Twizel Events Centre from 7.30pm on Thursday, September 14. Tickets are available from the Twizel Information Centre and will cost adults $20 and students $10.