Theatre group enlists historian for WWI drama

WHITE ROCK – Reaching the centennial of the First World War, White Rock-based theatre and arts company Peninsula Productions is producing Mary’s Wedding, an emotional and historic drama centred on WWI. The play, which flickers between 1914 and 1920 in dream sequences, tells the story of lovers Mary and Charlie. Scenes flash "from the prairies to the trenches" in an emotional re-telling of war and love. The production stars young actors Julia Siedlanowska and Harrison MacDonald as Mary and Charlie, lovers who meet just before Charlie was enlisted to WWI. "When I first read the play, I was just sobbing," Siedlanowska told the Now.


"I was just completely drawn to it. It’s a love story that’s very relatable, what really gets me in it is Mary’s regret and I find that it’s really relatable. I just had a feeling when I read it that I wanted to be in it."


For the monumental event, the company has partnered with local historian Bob Mackay, whose father fought in the significant war and has penned a novel on the events. Though a work of fiction, the play, by Canadian playwright Steven Masicotte, strikes many real and accurate chords, including a common real-life character, Sargeant Flowerdew, from Mackay’s novel Soldier of the Horse.


"Sergeant Flowerdew, who actually existed and fought in the First World War, was part of Lord Strathcona’s C squadron, and that’s how we have a connection with Bob," said Peninsula Productions’ director Wendy Bollard. "Bob’s father fought in the First World War alongside Flowerdew… so we’re incredibly fortunate to have (him) onboard to help us and to explain the stories."


Mackay said the script does an incredible job of being accurate, through what he’s learned from his father.


"There are all kinds of things in the play that make me think Steven Massicotte did a lot of research and when he wrote the play, he really understood the background very well," the historian said. The play’s stars agree with director Bollard, who said that having a historian to help with the context is advantageous.


"It’s good to get second-hand information from memories. It’s not just reading on Wikipedia or studying it coldly," Siedlanowska said. "You can add different motivations through people’s recollections." Her co-star, McDonald, echoed the sentiment. "It’s easy to understand the human aspects and the emotions, but to be well-versed in the socio-political aspects and the mentalities and notions of the day, that’s a whole different language to immerse yourself in," he said.


"That’s why Bob’s here and that’s what we’re learning from him." The production runs nightly from Nov. 12 to 15 at White Rock Elementary’s Black Box Theatre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Peninsulaproductions. org.


A Nov. 11 show at 2 p.m. will be free for veterans and their families, and by donation for the general public.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

Man injured in reported stabbing near Surrey SkyTrain station

Incident happened around 9 p.m. Friday night

PHOTOS: The day 28,000 Lollapalooza-goers rocked Cloverdale in 1994

Fans share memories of drugs, bad Smashing Pumpkins, Nick Cave walk-off and ‘letdown’ of Surrey date

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Inmate tests positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Most Read