By Vicki A. Brady
The year was 1914, and one of the largest wars in history was being waged in Europe. Tensions from as far back as 1870 between France and Germany and the Franco-Prussian War finally spilled over, involving 46 countries in what would be known as World War I or The Great War.
On June 28, 1914, Austro-Hungarian’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated while visiting the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Within a month, nations were polarized, alliances were formed, and on August 4th, Great Britain declared war on Germany.
Optimism prevailed as volunteers from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland prepared to fight on the Western Front, a 400-mile stretch of land bordering France and Belgium. Confident that the war would be over by Christmas and naive to the atrocities of war, soldiers were heard singing It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Keep the Home Fires Burning as they marched their way to battle. But nothing could prepare the men for the mayhem they
were about to face and the horror of trench warfare.
Advances in military weaponry made trench warfare an important factor in WWI. Machine guns and artillery forced men to build reinforced, eight-foot deep defense trenches that offered protection but limited mobility. The ground between the opposing forces was known as no man’s land and was often only as wide as a football field. Under these conditions, sniper fire, mortar fragments, and bombs took the lives of over 10 million soldiers and 8 million civilian. Another 20 million were wounded or missing in action. The soldiers that left for battle with a
song on their lips, returned without a melody in their heart.
Despite the despondent circumstances in the trenches at the Western Front, something unusual happened on Christmas Eve in 1914. A truce, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was proposed between the British and the Germans. In the darkness, German soldiers began singing Christmas carols in their native tongue. Not to be outdone, British forces matched the carols. Before long, soldiers on each side bravely emerged from their secure walls to shake hands, exchange gifts, and play a little football. The brief respite from war was nothing short of a miracle and a story begging to be told.
All Is Calm
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is an incredible acapella musical, based on true accounts of that extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, and peace, and it is playing for this week only at the Cedar Street Playhouse in Rolla, Missouri. Produced by Fine Linen Theatre, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, created by Peter Rothstein, is a 70-minute musical that uses excerpts of letters, historical documents, poetry, and songs to tell this remarkable story. The strong voices and pure tones of the cast of 15 talented men easily transports the audience to a place from Christmas past.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is performing for one week only at the Cedar Street Playhouse, 701 North Cedar Street, Rolla, Missouri.
Showtimes for All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 are at 7:00 p.m., November 28 through December 1, with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday, December 1st.
For tickets, you may call 800-806-1915 or go to www.finelinentheatre.com.