(COVER PHOTO: The Cast of "All Is Calm" presented by Greater Boston Stage Company. Photo Credit Nile Scott Studios)
"A suite surrender"
Kevin T. Baldwin
Written by Peter Rothstein
Vocal Arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach
Directed by Ilyse Robbins.
Music Direction by Matthew Stern.
Cast Includes: Christopher Chew, Caleb Chew, Alexander Holden, David Jiles, Jr., Michael Jennings Mahoney, Zachary McConnell, Bryan Miner, Gary Thomas Ng, Brad Peloquin, Stephen Markarian
November 26, 27, December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18, 2021 at 8:00pm
November 27, December , 11 & 18, 2021 at 3:00pm
December 2, 9, 16, 22 & 23, 2021 at 7:30pm
November 28, December 1, 5, 8, 12, 15 & 19, 2021 at 2:00pm
Tickets: Single Tickets $62-67 (Adults); $57-62 (Seniors); and $20 Students (with valid ID). Frugal Friday tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the 8pm performance on Friday, November 26, 2021. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at Greater Boston Stage Company at (781) 279-2200, or visit greaterbostonstage.org.
Greater Boston Stage Company, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180
The magnificent thing about "All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914" is its simplicity.
It is a short, gorgeous piece dedicated in words and spirit to the men who served and gave all during the first world war and, for one, brief "blink" of that eye which is time, celebrated peace with those they were fighting.
It is not a musical. Written by Peter Rothstein, with vocal arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, "All Is Calm" is a play with music.
There is no orchestra. There are merely 10 men who sing together a cappella magnificently.
They slowly gather onto a bare stage under isolated lighting and then the story unfolds.
It is a true recounting based on letters and statements of those who experienced a brief truce in the trenches between U.K. and German soldiers.
As the excerpts from actual letters of soldiers convey, we witness the Allied soldiers sign up and proceed to the fight. During this part of the show, we hear many songs specific to the war effort by the Allies such as "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."
Oddly enough, there are no lyrics in that song specific to actual fighting or war, but the assumption from the lyrical subtext is that someone is leaving to go fight somewhere and, most likely, wouldn't be coming home.
While the song was used to boost morale by making the ultimate sacrifice for the war effort seem almost glamorous, in stark contrast, we learn from the statements of those who actually served the far less "glamorous" moments of war.
Amidst constant violent engagements during (what was thought to be) the "war to end all wars," soldiers fighting at the line on Christmas, 1914, broke ranks with upper echelon of command and momentarily called a truce with the German soldiers.
As "All Is Calm" illustrates beautifully, both sides, Germans and Allies, began singing together, laughing together, playing "football" (okay, soccer) together.
Being a truce, they learn more about the men they have been charged to kill in battle. Yet, in the dead of winter and just for this brief instance, "all is calm" and the feeling is bright.
Yes, we hear more somber holiday favorites such as "O Holy Night," "Auld Lang Syne" and "Silent Night" which is sung both in German and English. Yet we also hear the more joyful standards such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Good King Wenceslas" and more.
Rothstein has provided a perfect blending of tunes which serves as a splendid backdrop for the events as they unfold.
Costumes are period specific, props minimal, isolated lighting is exactly executed and special effects such as snow falling are never overused, detracting from the action on stage.
The success or failure of the piece resides squarely on the shoulders of these ten men playing multiple characters and they make their success seem effortless.
The moods run the gamut of amused and joyful to ominous and haunting. Yet, under the stage direction of Ilyse Robbins with music direction by Matthew Stern, not one moment is wasted on stage and not one of the voices in this unusual collective falls short.
In a season jam-packed with standard holiday fare, "All Is Calm" provides a unique and true story of men, some of whom never came home to Tipperary, Piccadilly, Leicester Square or wherever it was they called home.
Over a century later, we might have forgotten much of the reasoning behind the war these men fought.
These soldiers, on both sides, were told to fight and kill the enemy and they fought and killed the enemy.
However, this show illustrates how we must never forget that one, brief "blink" in time, at Christmas, which was that one moment they didn't fight. They didn't kill.
No. Instead, they sang. They laughed. They worshipped together. They buried their dead together. They played footba(okay, soccer) together.
They celebrated a fleeting peace. At least, though, it was celebrated in a time when all was calm.
The show runs approximately 70 minutes with no intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
ABOUT THE SHOW
The Western Front, Christmas, 1914.
Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.”
Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.
Greater Boston Stage Company is pleased to announce "All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914" directed by Ilyse Robbins with music direction by Matthew Stern, a moving documentary musical about the World War I Christmas truce.
Written by Peter Rothstein, with vocal arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, "All Is Calm" recalls an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers met in “No Man’s Land” and laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas together.
The production combines period songs and firsthand accounts of this remarkable event. This cast features ten actor/singers who beautifully blend WWI patriotic tunes, trench ballads, medieval melodies, and Christmas carols from England, Wales, France, Belgium, and Germany.
Featured songs include: It's A Long Way to Tipperary, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Angels We Have Heard on High, Good King Wenceslas, O Holy Night, Auld Lang Syne, and other holiday favorites.
For an unforgettable evening of storytelling, camaraderie, music, and peace, get your tickets for "All Is Calm" today.
(The Cast of "All Is Calm" presented by Greater Boston Stage Company. Photo Credit Nile Scott Studios)
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ABOUT GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY
We bring vibrant professional theatre and dramatic education beyond the boundaries of Boston, featuring world and regional premieres alongside fresh interpretations of familiar work. Within this setting, we uniquely foster the artists of tomorrow by providing ongoing performance and employment opportunities to our company of current and former students. Now in its 22nd Season of live theatre in Stoneham, MA, Greater Boston Stage Company produces five Mainstage shows, presents a series of Special Events, and runs year-round classes, lessons, and fully staged productions through The Young Company for students in grades 1–12.
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Stoneham, MA 02180
(Trailer from the All Is Calm website: https://alliscalm.org/)