This is War, currently on at The Great Canadian Theatre Company, may not be a great show for Valentine’s Day but it is thought provoking, poignant, at times heart wrenching and overall a fantastic play. War is ugly, irrational and makes you do things you would never dream of doing if you weren’t in the middle of combat. Decisions have to be made and the impact of it all can last for years and years, long after the last bomb or the last gun shot. Ask any soldier.
In This is War, four soldiers (three men and one woman) recount the same story of a mission that didn’t really go as planned. The audience sees some of the rawness of war, how one battle can influence a soldier’s reaction to another, how on-the-spot decisions directly affect lives, forcing soldiers to play God, choosing one life over another, or how war takes away emotions. Then, there is the boredom in between battle and how amorous entanglements can cause headaches. These are just some of the themes in this heavy play.
The set is simple as are the costumes (army fatigues as you might imagine), but you don’t need anything because the dialogue and acting whisk you away to the point you feel you go back in time with them as they retell their tales.
The acting is amazing. Drew Moore’s Private Jonny is so loveable, endearing and seemingly innocent you almost forget he is wielding a weapon. John Ng gives a strong performance as Sergeant Hughes, Sarah Finn’s Master Corporate Tanya Young offers a look into post-traumatic stress disorder and Brad Long is fabulous as Sergeant Chris Anders who tries to keep it all together.
So head to the GCTC, grab a drink at the bar to catch the show (they let you bring drinks into the theatre). It’s a tough play but riveting and powerful and gives you a glimpse at what soldiers do, trying to keep peace and how that sometimes doesn’t end up quite the way it was planned.
Sarah Finn: Master Corporal Tanya Young
Brad Long: Sergeant Chris Anders
Drew Moore: Private Jonny Henderson
John Ng: Sergeant Stephen Hughes