'Complete revamp' for WWI musical ahead of Anzac Day

The grim reality of a soldier's life at Gallipoli is revealed.
SUPPLIED/GARETH DAVIES

The grim reality of a soldier's life at Gallipoli is revealed.

With Anzac Day on the horizon, stories of wartime are once again coming to the fore.

As part of ongoing WWI centenary commemorations, playwright Amanda Stone is resurrecting her musical production Voices from the Front, for a short run at Hannah Playhouse.

The play tells the story of soldiers on the front line at Gallipoli, with Stone's script based largely on the diary and letters of Kiwi Lieutenant Colonel William Malone.

Much of the script was based on the letters Lt. Col. William Malone sent home to his wife, Ida Malone.
CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ

Much of the script was based on the letters Lt. Col. William Malone sent home to his wife, Ida Malone.

"He was a beautiful writer and his letters to home so moving that I felt I needed to bring them to life and share them."

READ MORE:
Flashback: The Anzac hero who would not back down
Gallipoli story told in massive scale at Te Papa
The Last Post to be played until end of WWI centenary
Lost letters reveal prisoner of war experience as centenary looms
Govt spends $20m on WWI arts and culture

The story follows three families, charting their wartime experiences; from the excitement of enlistment to the training in Egypt and their eventual landing at Anzac Cove.

Voices From The Front is based on actual letters sent home from the front-line as well as memoirs of Kiwi Gallipoli ...
SUPPLIED/GARETH DAVIES

Voices From The Front is based on actual letters sent home from the front-line as well as memoirs of Kiwi Gallipoli veterans and quotes and minutes from the Council of War.

It won't be the production's first outing with it having had a two-week run at Porirua Little Theatre where it received plenty of positive attention.

However, this time around, Stone said the script and the play as a whole had changed "quite a bit".

"It's a lot shorter with an entirely new cast and a different ending but the changes have definitely been for the best," she said.

William Malone in his bunker at the The Great War Exhibition in Wellington.
CHARLOTTE CURD/FAIRFAX NZ

William Malone in his bunker at the The Great War Exhibition in Wellington.

Many of the changes have been the work of director Sandy Brewer who most recently worked on the highly acclaimed season of Evita in Wellington.

Ad Feedback

While Brewer hadn't been involved in the play's initial run, being able to look at it with fresh eyes had proved to be beneficial.

"I was able to go through and make cuts and changes to ensure the story is always progressing and flowing well."

While the production is fairly somber in its subject matter, there are several songs from the era throughout to show the ...
SUPPLIED/GARETH DAVIES

While the production is fairly somber in its subject matter, there are several songs from the era throughout to show the softer side of the period.

Working on the play had given her a chance to immerse herself in some of the wartime stories she hadn't heard before and decide how best to bring them to the stage.

"A lot of war stories focus on men, which this does to an extent, but we also deal with the family dynamics, women back home and how that all played out."

Fellow Evita alumni Matt Pike will play lead character William Malone - a role he said had taken a lot of research to get right.

"He's such a stoic Kiwi bloke and he had his beliefs straight up and down so there was a lot to get under the skin of, for a character like this," Pike said.

"You can't hit it with with swagger or gusto, you have to really get inside his head."

Pike spent a lot of time reading up on Malone, discovering his romantic side though the letters sent to his wife from the front-line and the way he was said to have spoken with his superiors.

"He really stood up for what he believed in and put his life on the line."

*Voices from the Front at Hannah Playhouse, April 4-8, 7:30pm, to book visit hannahplayhouse.org.nz.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback