Last night, my aunt and I went to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival to see the play All Is Calm. It’s based on the remarkable true story from the Western Front, Christmas, 1914. In a silence amid the combat, a soldier steps into no man’s land singing “Silent Night.” All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 relives an astounding moment in history when British troops and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together, sharing food and drink, playing soccer, and singing carols. This dramatic retelling weaves together firsthand accounts of World War I soldiers with patriotic tunes, trench songs, and Christmas carols.
It really wasn’t what I expected, though I’m not sure I know what I’d expected. I just know the play that was performed was not what I expected. I expected there to be more of a plot, but it was merely a lot of firsthand accounts interwoven with songs. My biggest criticism is that the uniforms were all wrong. The uniforms were a hodgepodge of different styles, including one French uniform even though the French did not participate in the Christmas Truce. Thankfully it was only an hour long, or else I’m not sure I could have stood the whole thing. The accents used were also mostly unintelligible. My poor aunt, who is no historian, was mostly lost during the whole play. I was even having a hard time following it.