Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"somehow it didn't seem like war at all, at all, at all..."

Eric Peterson as Billy Bishop
I am of the opinion that all theatre should tell a story, especially Canadian theatre. Having had the privilege of working and living with people from all over this great country I know that Canadians are, above all, story tellers. (Specifically Canadians from the East Coast-they have truly been given the gift of gab, even if sometimes you can't understand them). We regale friends and family with tales of drinking, hardships and adventures, big and small.

It is clear that the Canadian play "Billy Bishop Goes to War" follows in this grand tradition of story telling. The play, written in the 1970's by John Gray and Eric Peterson, has been remounted all over Canada both by Gray and Peterson and by theatre companies across Canada. A re-telling of Bishop's heroic exploits during WWI left me both moved and ashamed that I did not already know the story of this great Canadian.

Afterwards I had the honour of meeting Eric Peterson. A touchstone of Canadian theatre and a story teller through and through. He spoke candidly with my Grandfather (who had his "wings" pinned on by the real Billy Bishop before WWII) and received my compliments graciously (as I held back tears, because I have a soft spot for old men). It was an experience that was both uniquely Canadian and deeply moving and one I will not soon forget.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing "Billy Bishop Goes to War" with Eric Peterson and John Gray.

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