Solo show on WWI

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT -

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.

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