Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”
Production: All is Calm – The Christmas Truce of 1914
Theater: Playhouse On Park – Streaming
Playwright: Peter Rothstein
Director: Sasha Brätt
The Howard’s Exhale – an emotionally charged Yuletide presentation.
It is the eve of our own Christmas 2020, the year has brought upon us so much in learning what strength and courage is and the extending of one’s hand to another be it in peacetime or war. Playhouse on Park, as part of it’s 12th Main Stage Season, has brought fourth an “enduring – emotionally charged” filmed presentation of “ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914. Peter Rothstein’s ALL IS CALM: THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914, is Directed by Sasha Brätt, Musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach with music direction by Benjamin Rauch. The production is currently available to stream online from December 16, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
Told in five parts, the production, actually intended for the stage of Playhouse on Park is made more realistic by its outdoor “men at war” staging. The stories presented, through music and first hand accounts are both heartwarming and filled with pathos in a world at war. These soldiers, though far from home, are not alone, for one brief 24 hours, Allied troops and German soldiers, are compatriots coming together, full of camaraderie, especially as Christmas arrives throughout the war torn trenches, sharing not only their food, drink and song but for one brief moment- becoming brothers.
Starting through part 1, “The Optimistic Departure”, part 2- “The Grim Reality”, part 3- “Christmas”, part 4 -“The Truce” and part 5 “Return to Battle” – we are a witness to these young men’s rebirth and struggles as they take us from their “eager to enlist for King and Country”, to the realities of war- “will the rain never stop”? The production, though filled with insightful recollections and letters, it is the soulful songs throughout the production that gives so much substance to what you are witness too including: “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary“, “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag”, and a tearful “Silent Night”.
As stated, “this is a film of the play. This play was originally scheduled to be produced by Playhouse Theatre Group, Inc. live at Playhouse on Park. As a result of guidelines put forth by Governor Ned Lamont and out of concern for the safety of POP staff, cast, and crew, the play was filmed outdoors without the presence of a live audience”. We offer kudos to both POP and Director Sasha Brätt, this production still provides any theater goer a story that unabashedly and honestly showcases the “good” in man even in war. Please note, the amazing cinematography as we go from Brightest Day to the darkness of war throughout the production. Under Director Sasha Bratt, “All is Calm” is an absolutely stellar theatrical event not to be missed. We look forward to seeing this production as well as ALL future productions on the actual stage of Playhouse On Park.
We send applause and appreciation to this stalwart cast of actors and singers including: Lu DeJesus (Actor 1), Niko Touros (Actor 2), Michael Hinton (Actor 3), and Singers – Kevin J. Andersen, Evan Benjamin, Matthew Bridgeman, Spencer Hamlin, Alex Hunt, Ryan Mancini, Michael McAvaney, Zach Reggio, and Jermaine Woodard Jr. Music Direction by Benjamin Rauch. Excellent job all.
Stream-at-home tickets are $20 per stream plus an additional $3 service charge. Online orders are subject to an additional $1.50 processing fee. In person and phone orders do-not have the additional $1.50 fee. All fees are passed on directly to the companies that charge for their services. Upon purchasing a stream, you will receive an email from BoxOffice@PlayhouseTheatreGroup.org. This will include your receipt, your code to view the film and instructions on how to access it. The code is intended for the purchaser only. You will be able to access the film from December 16th – January 3rd only. For more information on streaming, or to purchase tickets, visit www.PlayhouseOnPark.org. For info contact the POP box office at 860-523-5900 x10. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com