Subtle Tribute to the Fallen

Of all the memorials and remembrance services, exhibitions, and displays this year, I think I have found the most subtle, touching tribute.

The poppies at the Tower of London, The Culture Show,  nationwide parades; England was overcome this year by a desperate longing to remember the hundreds of thousands of British servicemen and women who lost their lives during the First World War. Certain *ahem* supermarkets were even audacious enough to use the World War centenary year as an opportunity to explain how the Christmas Day truce of 1914 between German and English soldiers missing their loved ones and terrified for their lives was similar to said supermarket promoting a message of ‘sharing is caring.’

This aside, 99% of the performances, displays, shows, exhibitions, televised broadcasts and speeches have been genuine, un-manipulated demonstrations of remembrance. Nothing more so that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s interpretation of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

*Collective sigh*

Yes, yes. Shakespeare, really?

Bear with me here! It is a normal (top-notch) production, with a normal (outstanding) cast, and a normal (quality) set. But this, my dear friends, is not the important part. The entire production screams 1910s, be it the dresses or the music or the furniture. Only in the last five minutes as The Princess and her ladies bid farewell to their loves for twelve months and day did the audience notice the change of tone. While the cast were singing, their tones and their faces grew sombre. The lighting darkened and a sense of foreboding seemed to creep into the theatre. We as the audience had come to love the charades of these men and their loveable, friendly natures, and so to see them emerge in British Officers’ uniforms almost had us collectively hold our breath at this horrible realisation. It was only then that we had an inkling, just the tiniest sense of what it must have felt to watch a husband, a son,  a father put on his uniform and walk off into the deep recesses of war. Really, the scariest feeling was a feeling of the unknown, not really understanding what was going on until they were there, in front of our eyes in their uniforms.

As a piece of theatre, Christopher Luscombe deserves a hearty round of applause. As a service of remembrance, he deserves a standing ovation. It is easy to stand at the back of a church service and agree that the concept, the faraway, distant idea of war is tragic. But to even come close to feeling the real, anguished and horrified feelings of British citizens during World War One is a whole other theatrical and social achievement.

In case anyone is curious, Love’s Labour’s Lost runs until 14 March 2015 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. And no, this is not sponsored in any way.

Quote Of The Week

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are points in life, especially when you are young, when you reach crossroads and have to make very difficult decisions. These decisions can weigh up doing the right thing against the easy thing, doing something to keep yourself happy instead of your family happy, and addressing the fact that your aspirations and dreams in life are not going to come easily.

This week’s quote has been chosen to remind you that you are perfectly capable of getting yourself there as long as you understand that you don’t know exactly what there is, or how you’re going to get there. Making big decisions is a scary thing, especially when you believe that this decision is life-changing.

I am facing a decision over the next few weeks which asks me to choose between the easy and the hard, the unconventional and the routine, the desires of my parents and my own desires, and independence or reliance on another body, another institution, or another person.

Just remember, wherever you are and whatever you do, your actions will always carry you one step closer or one step further away from where you want to be. It is up to you to make the most of your crossroad to do what is right for YOU as an individual.