Rehearsals in full swing for locally produced war play

Several young men and women have started rehearsal for an encore presen­tation of Canada’s first known war play, which will be per­formed in the Fergus Grand Theatre in November.

Rehearsals started the last week of August, and on one of those evenings, the cast saw the war classic film All Quiet on the Western Front to get a sense of the harsh realities of World War I.

The play is the first pres­en­tation of the 2008-2009 season for Elora Community Theatre. The play is called You’re Lucky if You’re Killed, by Doctor Norman Craig. It returns to the Fergus Grand Theatre where it first made its debut in 1933, Fergus’ centennial year. 

Elora Community Theatre presents the play in co-opera­tion with several other commu­nity groups. It is appropriate for Fergus 175th anniversary and also fits well with Remem­brance Day observances.

Directed by Bronwyn Allen Hill and Gary Bryant, the script examines the lives and attitudes of young men from a small town during the conflict of World War I.  Bryant said, “Some extra historical infor­mation is being added to this presentation through the addi­tion of Newsboys and other char­acters in order to remind the audience of events of the time. Events of 1914-1918 would have been well known to the audiences in 1933.”

 Dr. Craig had served in the war, as a medic and later with the Royal Naval Air Service as a sub-lieutenant leading a squad­ron of Sopwith Camel fighter planes. By war’s end, most of his boyhood friends had been killed.

As time passed afterwards, and still no war memorial had been built in Fergus, Dr. Craig thought the town should rec­og­nize the soldiers who had given their lives by building a mem­orial to honour them. He hoped that by writing and staging the play, he could make the citizens of Fergus see how important it was to remember the sacrifice of their friends and neighbours.

He donated the play proceeds to help build a war mem­orial. That memorial was finally erected and then opened in a ceremony and parade at dawn on Aug. 5, 1935.

 You’re Lucky if You’re Killed tells the story of young men who went to war and those they left at home, and it includ­es several original musical numbers.

The play has been adapted by Elora Community Theatre and is performed by permission of the Craig family. Perfor­mance dates are Nov. 7 to 9 and Nov. 13 to 15. In addition to the six regular performances, three school matinees are scheduled for Nov. 10, 11, and 12 at 1 pm.

To order tickets, call Ralph Basset Associates at 519-843-4852. Credit card and debit services are available. Plan to call before the first play, and book season tickets at $40 for three shows. Regular prices are $17.50, seniors $14, and groups of 10 or more $12. Elementary school students and EyeGO tickets are only $5.

For more information, visit and www.wellington­