1918: Don’t Worry, Re­joice! — Dra­matic Read­ings from the First World War

Mount Al­li­son, Sackville com­mu­nity mem­bers to stage dra­matic read­ings in hon­our of Re­mem­brance Day

Sackville Tribune - - TANTRAMAR -

“1918 was a time of anx­i­ety, hope and de­spair, when vic­tory seemed so near and yet so far. The Tantra­mar also en­dured the Span­ish flu pan­demic.”

Alex Fancy

On Jan. 7, 1918, the Sackville Tri­bune re­ported the death of for­mer ed­i­tor David Everett Scott, who chose to forgo his of­fi­cer’s stripes so he could fight at the Front.

The Tri­bune also pub­lished Scott’s last let­ter to his mother, in which he spoke of his re­li­gious faith, “do­ing one’s bit” as a source of pride, and the prospect of an Al­lied vic­tory.

Scott’s last words to his mother, “Don’t worry, re­joice” be­came the ti­tle for the fifth and fi­nal event in the Tantra­mar-at-war series.

“1918 – Don’t Worry, Re­joice!” will be pre­sented in the Mo­tyer-fancy Theatre, in the Purdy Craw­ford Cen­tre for the Arts on the Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity cam­pus, on Tues­day, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sun­day, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. No reser­va­tions are re­quired and free-will do­na­tions in sup­port of the Sackville Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal Aux­il­iary will be col­lected at the door.

Di­rec­tor Alex Fancy ex­plains that, dur­ing 75 min­utes of “ver­ba­tim theatre,” read­ers will “chan­nel voices of peo­ple from the Tantra­mar whose con­tri­bu­tions to the war ef­fort can still in­spire us a cen­tury later.”

Four years ago, “1914: Al­li­son- ians at War,” was in­tended as a sin­gle com­mem­o­ra­tion.

Will Balser, from Hills­bor­ough, has read ev­ery year and ex­plains why the project has con­tin­ued.

“The let­ters and sto­ries from the Front that ap­peared in the Mount Al­li­son Ar­gosy and the two Sackville news­pa­pers, The Tri­bune and The Post, seem more real than real,” says Balser.

Later ti­tles worked to con­vey what it must have been like to live through ‘the Great War’: “1915 – Sac­ri­fice, Sol­i­dar­ity and Socks”; “1916 - Keep the Faith, Keep in Touch, Keep the Home Fires Burn­ing”; and “1917 - Mud, May­hem and Mir­a­cles”.

Liam Cole, who is from Port El­gin, has also read ev­ery year.

“It’s easy to for­get that peo­ple had no idea when the war would end,” says Cole. “Most soldiers and nurses who went to war from through­out Canada passed through here on their way to troop ships in Hal­i­fax.”

Jen­nie Del Motte will per­form war mu­sic and songs as she has done since 2014. Han­nah Tuck, who first read last year, says, “Jen­nie’s mu­sic will en­ter­tain spec­ta­tors and move them to tears.”

Speak­ing of the project as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Fancy says each year seemed to have a par­tic­u­lar tone.

“1918 was a time of anx­i­ety, hope and de­spair, when vic­tory seemed so near and yet so far,” says Fancy. “The Tantra­mar also en­dured the Span­ish flu pan­demic.”

The fi­nal read­ings cel­e­brate the tri­umph of the hu­man spirit, con­vey the eu­pho­ria that pre­vailed on the Tantra­mar and at Mount Al­li­son on Nov. 11, and re­count the lav­ish vic­tory cel­e­bra­tions whose cost be­came a sub­ject of con­cern for the Sackville Town Coun­cil.

AL SMITH/MOUNT AL­LI­SON AR­CHIVES PHOTO

Pic­tured above is a vic­tory pa­rade float, fea­tur­ing an ef­figy of the Kaiser, Sackville, Nov. 11, 1918.

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