by Lorraine Payette, written September 10, 2014
“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
– John Milton
Whether rolling bandages, practicing for possible blackouts, or trying out leg make-up to substitute for impossible to come by silk stockings, the women who stayed behind while their men went to war always had a lot to do. And those whose men stayed home also felt a fierce duty to help in any way they could.
Waiting for the Parade chronicles the time spent by five women, each waiting in her own way for the war to end. One has sent two sons overseas, one a husband. Two have husbands who have stayed at home – one simply through no wish to enlist, the other to continue his job as a radio announcer reporting the daily news. The last is in perhaps the least enviable position of all – a German immigrant whose father has been placed in an internment camp on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer.
World War II sent men away from their families for the duration of the conflict. There were no short term involvements, no coming home for R&R. The man who came home early was usually either dead or so incapacitated that he could no longer be of value as a member of a fighting force. Those men who stayed behind were often ridiculed, their families looked down upon. Yet the women in their lives continued to do whatever they could to help keep up morale not only for themselves, but for their friends, neighbours and the boys who went away.
“I would definitely recommend it to others,” said Scott Carson. “It’s a good play, well written and well acted.”
“It’s a fantastic show, we’ve enjoyed it totally,” said Terry Gill of Belleville. “It’s very well done. We love coming to this theatre, we appreciate the plays that they put on.”
The idea of a play about WWII brought mixed reactions.
“I am not a fan of the War,” said Lois Creed, 89, of Dexter, NY, who sang along with every song. “I lived through it and saw too many good men go over and never come back, too many who came back badly hurt or changed. There are no ‘dear John’ letters in the play, no ‘the department of defence regrets to inform you…’ Instead, it looks at life the way it was for us at home. These girls are all acting much more mature than we ever did – we were afraid to be mature because of what it might mean, so we all acted like teenagers. But the sentiments are right, and the music is fantastic.”
“I love it being about the war, especially since we’re celebrating the hundredth year since Normandy,” said Sue Hunt. “I think it’s wonderful.”
“I think the play is great,” said Henry Peel. “I’m learning about the war and how it affected people. It’s very powerful.
“I’m very much enjoying it,” said Danielle Claus of Kingston. “It’s my first time seeing the show, and I think it’s a lovely period piece.”
“Waiting for the Parade” runs from August 29 – September 20, 2014, at the Springer Theatre, 690 Charles Street South in Gananoque, Ontario. Running time for the play is 2 hours, including intermission. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Wednesday after opening night). Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $16 for students. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each including GST. Women and War – A Panel Discussion will be held free of charge on Sunday, September 14, 1:00 pm at the Firehall Theatre (full details available online at http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com/women-and-war-a-discussion/ ). This show is recommended for people of all ages. For more information, please go to http://www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.