Man meets woman after the war. They connect. A flashback to WWII to the beginning of the story. The stories of the men in a Stalag Luft III POW camp are being enacted by seven women. The play is based on the recollections of playwright Amiel Gladstone’s Grandfather and this story was also depicted in the movie The Great Escape. The movie had an all male cast in accordance with the real characters. Yet, somehow, the women playing the roles of the men feels completely organic in today’s world.
The set design is very Spartan and reflects the different sceneries. It transforms seamlessly from an aircraft to the camp and then to the tunnel all in full view of the audience. Jacqueline Firkins as costumer cleverly dressed the performers in khaki jumpsuits and thus the women appear asexual and their references to each other by their male names seems natural. The prisoners of war tell relate to us how they spent three winters trying to escape their Nazi captors. This was done with most inventive ingenuity and at a great sacrifice. Fat from soup, pj cords, bed slats, chairs and tin cans were used to fashion tools and equipment to dig the tunnels. The last one was finished in March 1945.
Ghazal Azarbad, Raylene Harewood, Olivia Hutt, Camille Legg, Julia Siedlanowska, Naomi Vogt and Libby Willoughby were well chosen to depict the captured soldiers. With their assertive voices they convey to the audience the stories of the Allied soldiers. Some are sad and others are filled with humour.
This play is poignant with the upcoming anniversary of Remembrance Day on November 11, 2018. The Historic Theatre at The Cultch is easily accessible by public transit. It runs until November 17, 2018.
Tickets at: https://thecultch.com/events/three-winters/
~ reviewed by Tara K. Torme
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