Saturday, November 13, 2004

Oh What a lovely war!

A sobering evening at the Plaza. I was not familiar with this work so came to it fairly fresh.

The show is a satire of the First World War, in the form of a series of sketches seen through the eyes of soldiers, civilians and leaders. A counterpoint to the sketches is the visual display at the back of the stage which displays words and images.

One moment the audience was laughing and the next moment gasping in shock and at one point I was moved to tears (and I don't blub easily).
One stat displayed on the screen (and I think for many the most powerful) was that the average length of service of a machine gunner was four minutes.

This year marks the 90th Anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 and I hope that we will never see anything remotely on that scale ever again.
But although the scale is different there were moments when I realised that, with war, there are always similarities. Early in tonight's play the comment was made that the troops would be home by Christmas.
Where have I heard those words recently?
Later a comment was made that the wounded were being brought back at night and this made me reflect on why I couldn't recall seeing any recent media images of wounded or dead being brought back into Britain. Is the media not interested or are they not being told when or wher this is happening - or is the simple truth that families want it this way?

I usually leave the Plaza feeling cheerful and uplifted but tonight I left in contemplative mood and couldn't stop making comparisons between 90 years ago and now.

I couldn't bring myself to watch the news because I just feel unbearably sad.