During this time of family gatherings, gift giving, and Christmas cheer, it is easy to forget where we come from and what our ancestors sacrificed in order for us to enjoy the world we live in now.
With All Is Calm, a play presented Dec. 16 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, we have a chance to catch a glimpse of what it may have been like a hundred years ago on Christmas Eve 1914 when World War I was just a little over five months old.
The play details the night when gunfire suddenly went quiet along long stretches of the Western Front as British and German troops spontaneously observed an informal holiday truce. During a stoppage in war, the troops climbed out of their trenches and met each other halfway across No Man’s Land to bury their dead and exchange small gifts.
Told mostly from the British point of view, the documentary-style play is a musical tribute to that brief time when Peace On Earth was not just some idealistic dream, but an actual, albeit brief, event. The show is told in the words and songs of the men who lived it as it incorporates spoken excerpts from period letters, autobiographies, poetry, and military documents with more than 30 songs from the era. — Chris Hupe