Poet Lau­re­ate’s play re­ceives ac­claim

Black Country Bugle - - GAIL MIDDLETON - By JOHN WORK­MAN

A play set in the First World War that has re­ceived crit­i­cal ac­claim from au­di­ences who have seen it, is once again about to tread the boards in the week prior to the 100th an­niver­sary of the Armistice in No­vem­ber 1918.

A spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion of “Two Moth­ers of Dis­tant Sons” will be per­formed by the Bel­mont Rep at Light­woods Park and House, Ad­kins Lane, Bear­wood, Smeth­wick, B67 5DP, on Tues­day No­vem­ber 7 at 7pm. The ra­dio-style play was writ­ten by Wed­nes­bury Poet Lau­re­ate Bren­dan Hawthorne, and Bren­dan has been re­mind­ing us about its con­tent:

“The play is semi-bi­o­graph­i­cal and is based on the life of Cor­po­ral Billy Bolt. Writ­ten in po­etic form it con­tains orig­i­nal songs through­out the per­for­mance, and the cast gives voice to Billy and Tommy, two young sig­nal­men from the South Staffs Reg­i­ment, as they set off for Ypres, leav­ing be­hind their moth­ers, fa­thers and loved ones to air their feel­ings and tell the sto­ries of their brave boys through let­ters and tele­grams. “This play high­lights the hor­rors, vic­to­ries and emo­tions en­coun­tered when set against the back­drop of the Black Coun­try and of Ypres dur­ing the Great War. Orig­i­nal war di­aries and doc­u­men­ta­tion are used to give re­al­ism to the ac­tiv­i­ties of front line ser­vice and em­ploys lo­cal and fam­ily sto­ries to give the play a ground­ing in lo­cal views held at the time. There are sound ef­fects and light­ing as well as orig­i­nal arte­facts on dis­play and within the scenery.

Unique

“The story cov­ers a pe­riod in 1915, be­fore look­ing at the im­me­di­ate after­math of the cease­fire­and en­su­ing peace ini­tia­tives by means of pro­vid­ing a con­clu­sion. A unique ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion fol­lows the per­for­mance which gives the op­por­tu­nity for mem­bers of the au­di­ence to freely ask the ac­tors and their char­ac­ters about the play, its con­tent, con­cept and re­al­i­sa­tion, etc.

Pre­sent­ing

“Cor­po­ral Billy Bolt was my great un­cle, a chap I never knew per­son­ally but a per­son I have grown to know a lot dur­ing the writ­ing and pre­sent­ing of this play. It is pri­mar­ily aimed at adults, though we wel­come young­sters over 14 years of age to ac­com­pany their par­ents or guardians. I’m sure re­searchers and those in­ter­ested in lo­cal sto­ries from the Black Coun­try will find “Two Moth­ers of Dis­tant Sons” a rich source of ma­te­rial and very much of lo­cal sig­nif­i­cance. I might add the script con­tains no abu­sive lan­guage. To­gether with the play we have an ac­com­pa­ny­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of First World War arte­facts and fac­sim­i­les for peo­ple to look at.”

Tick­ets are priced at £7.50 and £6.50 con­ces­sions and are avail­able in ad­vance by con­tact­ing 0121 569 4740 or email light­wood­s_­house@ sandwell.gov.uk.the venue is fully ac­ces­si­ble by wheel­chair and in­ter­val re­fresh­ments will be avail­able to pur­chase at the event.

There is also a free writ­ing work­shop “Words on War/war of Words” at Light­woods on a drop in ba­sis on No­vem­ber 7 hosted by Bren­dan Hawthorne from 10.30am 3.30pm (lunch 12-1). You will be able to work with Bren­dan on cre­at­ing po­ems and short sto­ries re­lat­ing to the war, in­spired by an ex­hi­bi­tion of First World arte­facts. The ses­sion is aimed at both be­gin­ners and ex­pe­ri­enced writ­ers alike, and if you are in­ter­ested you can regis­ter for the ses­sion at the time of book­ing tick­ets for the play.

Bri­tish sol­diers on the march

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