1917 Until the Day Dawns

Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

05/10/2017 - 14/10/2017

Production Details

A premiere season to acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. At the beginning of what was to be the most terrible year in a period of four terrible years, three friends leave for the war in Europe. Theirs is a journey from a summer day fishing by the banks of the Taieri River to the horrors of Paschendaele.

They have three different, yet interwoven reasons for going. And their story has three very different, and frighteningly isolating outcomes.  Some experiences are shared, others are faced alone. Some truths are admitted, others are not. Some dawns bring the sun, others only shadows.  

THE GLOBE THEATRE, 104 London St, Dunedin
Thursday 5 – Saturday 14 October 2017, 7.30pm
Matinee: Sunday 8 October, 2.00pm

Billy Wilson:  Ashley Stewart
Sam Mulholland:  Laith Bayan
Jack Mathews:  Daniel Cromar
David Macgregor:  Brook Bray
Bessie Mulholland:  Denise Casey
Maggie Mathews:  Maisie Thursfield
Marie Chabot:  Lynne Keen
Runner:  Emmett Hardie
An Army Padre:  Emmett Hardie
Captain Weir:  Emmett Hardie
Jack Mathews jnr:  Daniel Cromar
Jack Mathews, snr:  Keith Scott
Vocalist and Musician:  Bill Morris

Stage Manager:  Christine Johnstone
Assistant Stage Manager:  Emmett Hardie
Lighting Design:  Brian Byas
Sound:  Brian Byas
Technical Operator:  Brian Byas
Set Design:  Keith Scott
Set Build:  Ray Fleury, Keith Scott
Costume (Women):  Charmian Smith
Costume (Men):  Barbara Bishop
Costume (Uniforms):  Aaron Fox
Front of House Manager:  Leanne Byas  

Theatre ,

Play powerful antidote to war’s supposed glory

Review by Barbara Frame 09th Oct 2017

“Nothing’s the same anymore,” laments Billy, who’s found himself at the Somme with Maniototo friends Sam and Jack.  

The three lads have much in common, including fishing, mustering on Mt. Ida, and fondness for blackberry jam. Two of them are even in love with the same girl. But when it came to enlisting for the First World War, their motives were very different. [More


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History shared by distinctive characters

Review by Hannah Molloy 07th Oct 2017

While an almost three-hour play can feel a little daunting, 1917 Until the Day Dawns, a Globe Theatre production by Keith Scott, whizzes by, with the pace steady and smooth.  

It’s a story of three young men from Central Otago, called up to play their part in the mess that was ‘The Great War’, ‘The War to End All Wars’, but only the first. They join for different reasons, one because his name is drawn from the ballot, another because he can’t bear to let his friend go into danger alone and the third because he wants vengeance for those he’s lost, an outlet for his grief and incipient madness.

Billy (Ashley Stewart), Sam (Laith Bayan) and Jack (Daniel Cromar) are scrawny lads in their very early 20s. Sam is, or wants to be, a conscientious objector for reasons (not excuses) to do with his father which aren’t made entirely clear. Billy has lost several members of his extended family and is naively but dearly in love with Jack’s sister Maggie, who doesn’t reciprocate his feelings but doesn’t have the heart or the strength to send him off to war with a broken heart.

The friendship and shared history between these three is well drawn and the three actors play very distinctive personalities.  There are small elements of their characters that don’t ring quite true; for example, Billy speaks with a ‘cultured’ accent yet elides the ends of his words (nothin’, anythin’). These are very small details that will no doubt iron themselves out over the run. 

The other characters move around and alongside these three boys. Bessie, Sam’s mother (Denise Casey), Maggie, Jack’s sister and the love of Billy’s heart (Maisie Thursfield) and Marie Chabot (Lynne Keen), the owner of the French café where the boys (I can’t call them men) spend their leave eating “óeuf et frites” and drinking “stagger juice” present the perspective of the women of war. Maisie’s Maggie is perhaps the most heart-breaking, unable to shatter Billy’s dreams of returning to his love, but equally unable to return his feelings. My own heart always breaks watching the portrayal of mothers losing their children to stupid war and Bessie is a calm and courageous mother. Lynne’s ‘Mad Marie’ is funny and sympathetic.

Sergeant David Macgregor (Brook Bray), a giant of a man physically, plays a large but somehow under-developed part in this story. His own story of time already spent at the front, where he experienced the return of the first wave of soldiers from the Somme and apparently ran away, I think is integral to the understanding of what is happening to the other characters. I wonder if his experience and his story could be developed further. He is an unlikeable character but his story presents such tragedy. Although that wouldn’t have been understood or offered at the time, it would deepen the pathos of the main characters.

The slightly startling juxtaposition of a bard dressed in black jeans and shirt, strumming a guitar and singing gently and melodically, at first seems like it might be weird and out of context.  Bill Morris offers a really lovely, peaceful counterpoint to the steady pace of the play and I decide that his occasional appearance on stage, in the midst of moments of high emotion, in fact lifts the whole performance.

I look forward to the Globe Theatre getting very good audiences for this play. 


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