Director of War Game, Toby Hulse, shares his attachments with Michael Foreman’s novella ahead of next week’s opening.
Human beings create and tell stories to try to understand their world, and it is no surprise that the Great War has created so many enduring stories. The stories of the Angel of Mons, of the young lad who lies about his age to sign up, of the Christmas Day football match, are all ways that we try to make sense of this most incomprehensible of wars. At its heart, the story of the Christmas Day football match is one of empowerment: the ordinary man is empowered by play to transform, if only for a brief period, the misery and terror of his life. No wonder it appeals to me as a theatre maker. This is what theatre does too, transforming the world through play, for a brief, magical time.
Michael Foreman’s extraordinary book tells this wonderful story through the interplay of a beautifully simple text, snippets of documentary evidence and gorgeous, luminous watercolours. The book has transfixed and haunted me ever since I first read it, and it has been a real privilege to bring it to the stage. The show has been devised. This means that, rather than starting with a script, we have created it through rehearsal and play, with the picture book always at our side, informing our every decision. This is a truly collaborative process, and every name listed in our show programme has contributed vitally to the piece you can see on stage next week. And, in sharing the story with the audience, you can become a vital part of this collaboration too. This is a piece of genuine teamwork, like every great game. We hope you join us to enjoy the match.
Toby Hulse – Director
Using original music and songs of the period, live sampling and looping, War Game actively involves the audience in the telling of this incredible historical story and commemorates the centenary of the War. War Game opens on 11 November 2014 on Remembrance Day with a free post-show talk after the 7pm performance. Tickets and information here.