The 60th anniversary season of University Players continues with their third offering of the season, Journey’s End by R.C. Sherriff.
This historic piece of British drama will be performed to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Taking place over 4 days in 1918, we meet the members of Company C, awaiting an imminent German attack, and grappling with cold, unforgiving life in the trenches. The ordinarily charismatic Captain Stanhope turns to drink to ease the pain but must come to terms with his problems when the young and eager new recruit Raleigh arrives and reminds him of life back home.
The play takes us right into the trenches on the front lines of battle near the end of WWI, as troops wait for an imminent German attack. Sherriff himself served as an officer in the war, and gives us a tale with incredible depth of character and insight into the burden these men had to bear.
The script is so intimate and profound that the actors had to discuss the play when they first got together.
“On our first day of rehearsal we got to discuss how we all feel,” revealed actor Matt Maddison, who plays 2nd Lieutenant Trotter in the production. “Both my grandfathers served. My great grandmother came from Scotland as a war bride during the Second World War. My great grandfather served in the First World War. So yeah connecting that on the first day we got to listen to our sounds our soundtracks show the show. We were listening to the bombs and the music that came out of this war and I think everybody had a pretty emotional reaction to that. So for me there’s definitely a lot of honoring my own heritage and my own family who has served as well as their communities who served all throughout history.”
Written as a memoir of The Great War, this drama allows audiences to have a look into everyday military life, and tells the story of how the men of Company C cope with the long war. The ordinarily charismatic Captain Stanhope turns to drink to ease the pain, but must come to terms with his problems when the young and eager new recruit Raleigh arrives and reminds him of life back home.
“I think Trotter has really taught me to really appreciate the little things that I see, that I don’t always appreciate every day,” Maddison said. “I don’t always appreciate the safety that I have in this country. The fact that I get to come to school, to hang out with my friends who are coming from all these different cultures here to Windsor. Trotter for me, at this point in the play where he has a monologue about a bird that he sees, one bird. And for him that’s just the most inspiring thing. And for me he really has in my everyday life talking to appreciate all the small things that I have got. I get to do because of what the soldiers did.”
Journey’s End runs from November 23-December 2, 2018. All performances from Wednesday to Saturday start at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinee performances are at 2 p.m. On Sunday November 25, a “Talk Back” discussion with the actors will follow the performance. Complimentary tickets are available for veterans and those actively serving.
Tickets are available at www.universityplayers.com. Essex Hall Theatre is located on the University of Windsor campus on the corner of Wyandotte and Patricia.