June 28, 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, an incident which led to the beginning of World War I. Ms. Meyers said it was all together fitting to have this reading occur on this auspicious anniversary.
Soldiers' Christmas was written by local playwright Philip Paradis, a resident of Fort Thomas, KY and former English professor at Northern Kentucky University. Paradis' Soldiers' Christmas script was a finalist in the Kentucky Theater Arts Association's new play competition in 2011. He was just named a winner of the 2014 Kentucky New Play Festival for his play Sunny Side. The premiere of Paradis' play Footprints of the Polar Bear won the grand prize in the Cincinnati Director's Competition in 2008. Set in Belgium in late December 1914, Soldiers' Christmas tells the story of how British and German soldiers negotiated a truce and met in the middle of No-man's-land and celebrated the spirit of Christmas together during a temporary ceasefire.
Bob Allen will direct the reading which will include several area performers yet to be cast. Allen teaches in the theater programs at Northern Kentucky University and CCM-Prepatory Program and previously directed Paradis's "Love Knots (a love-fest of short plays)" at the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe.
Added Meyers, "We're delighted to be partnering with Cincinnati Opera and participating in this amazing and wonderful community arts celebration 'Cincinnati Remembers World War I.'" Jim Stump, former League of Cincinnati Theaters President, said that a stage reading is the next step in the development of a new play. Stump said that this new play's reception and audience reaction will be key in deciding its future. Stump said, "A premiere production of Soldiers' Christmas in December, close to the actual 100th anniversary of The 1914 Christmas Truce, would be most appropriate."
Cincinnati Remembers WWI is part of the Imperial War Museum’s (U.K.) global series of events honoring the centenary of the First World War. For more information about Cincinnati Remembers World War I, please visit www.cincinnatiopera.org/
For more information about Soldiers' Christmas, contact Ensemble Theatre 513-421-3555.
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