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Posts Tagged ‘World War I’

My script, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, continues to be a work in progress. As I’ve mentioned, it’s in the editing stages now.

But to get to his point I found that I had to read and research much more than what my grandfather had written in his diary, and what my aunt had provided in commentary.

So, for weeks, perhaps months, I read more about World War I. I searched the Internet. I listened to podcasts.

And then it really hit me that I didn’t need to “study war no more…”

The story I’m telling is that of one American soldier, not the entire U.S. military or England and France.

I’m telling one story, and the tendency is to want to put in all of the details, all of the history.

But, then I wonder how much an audience really needs to be told about the horrors of war. That’s almost a given. Almost.

What’s not a given is how that war affected the average soldier far away from home.

That’s the story I’m telling.

This blog is the story of that story. There’s work to be done.

After all, it’s a long way to Tipperary.

 

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My script, Clean Dry Socks:  Diary of a Doughboy, had its first public reading last night before the Richmond Playwrights’ Forum.

I am grateful for the opportunity to present my work, and am particularly grateful for the six actors who took an evening of their time and shared their talents.  I also appreciate the words of encouragement and instruction from the members of the Forum.

This has been a long time coming, and I’m excited about the prospects for the future.

As for last night’s experience, well, it was actually pretty good.

I mean, no one stepped up and said here’s a million dollars, let’s put this on the stage.  But the comments were supportive, and encouraging and gave me some new direction as well as solutions to some of the problems.

It remains a work in progress, and I have work to do.

But today, I’m a little farther down the road, a little closer to the stage.

And, that’s a good thing.

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worldwar1a

It’s been over eight months since last I posted here. I had high hopes and fancy plans to keep this going, along with my regular home on the web at The Write Side of My Brain. But schedules change, and plans change.

So, today I’m back and we’re taking this blog in a different direction. I’ll still talk occasionally about meetings and events, but for now, we’re looking at history, specifically World War I history.

I plan to be here every Tuesday to talk to you about the development of, and the promtion of my stage play.

See, I’ve written a script entitled: Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy.

It’s a stage play based on the diary of my grandfather from World War I. The first public reading is this coming Monday with the Richmond Playwright’s Forum.

Here’s how the script came to be.

I’ve had a copy of the diary for years. The version I have was transcribed by my aunt, who also provided commentary and history. The original diary is now at the Library of Congress as part of the Veteran’s History Project.

In addition to writing, I also spend some time on the stage. About two years ago, I was again participating in A Night at the Quartermaster Museum, at Fort Lee, Virginia. I’ve done this annually for the last four years and will be there again in November.

Two years ago I portrayed a World War I era doctor. The nurse and I talked to the students about the hazards of trench foot and prevention methods which include…you guess it…Clean Dry Socks. I remembered my grandfather’s diary at that point.

But things started to gel the next day when I attended the first performance in the newly restored Beacon Theatre at City Point in Hopewell, Virginia. The program was a series of letters written during the Civil War era.

I was inspired to go home and pull out my grandfather’s diary where I learned, or remembered, that he had trained at what was then Camp Lee, then marched to City Point in Hopewell where he and the 80t Blue Ridge Division departed for France.

It was then that I knew that I had to take this story to the stage.

So, the script has been written, and re-written, and will soon be read in public for the first time.

Is it ready? The reading will tell.

But it’s closer, and it’s on its way the stage.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how the reading goes.

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veterans

Veteran’s Day honors U.S. military veterans. November 11 marks the anniversary of the end of World War I when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. Previously known as Armistice Day, November 11 was renamed Veterans Day 1954.

President Woodrow Wilson issued the following message on November 11, 1919:

“ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN The White House, November 11, 1919. A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of inter national relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half. – With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we re modeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

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