SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of WWI Holiday Truce at Northern Kentucky University, 12/12-21
SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS is inspired by a series of unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front during Christmas of 1914, in which British and German soldiers intermingled peacefully, exchanging gifts and singing Christmas carols. The celebration, which took place in No Man's Land between opposing trenches, came to be known as the Christmas Truce, or Weihnachtsfrieden or Trêve de Noël.
"I heard about the Christmas Truce from one of my uncles, when I was a boy," said Paradis, who began researching the subject more than 10 years ago. "It's such an incredible story. These soldiers who were sworn enemies stopped fighting long enough to celebrate Christmas."
The Truce has previously been written about and dramatized on stage and screen, including a new British play, THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE by Phil Porter, which is being presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Paradis believes SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS offers a unique perspective.
"From what I understand, Phil Porter's play focuses primarily on British Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather, who drew cartoons depicting his wartime experiences," Paradis said. "My play focuses on British and German soldiers' experiences, as well as what their loved ones were going through back home."
Paradis has written dozens of plays. SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS was a finalist in the Kentucky Theatre Association Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Contest. He received a 2014 Kentucky New Play Series Award for his play SUNNY SIDE and his play Footprints of the Polar Bear took top honors in New Edgecliff Theatre's Cincinnati Director's Competition. Paradis considers SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS his most important work.
"The opposing trenches were so close together that the soldiers could smell their enemy's breakfast cooking and hear them singing," Paradis said. "In SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS, two front-line enemy soldiers meet and find they have more in common than they thought. They are the ones who negotiate a Christmas truce. "
SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS is a production of the Actors & Playwrights Collaborative and New Edgecliff Theatre in Cincinnati. It is directed by Robert Allen and features Carter Bratton, Jared Earland, Aaron Epstein, Michael Gettinger, Alexa Glaser, Blair Godshall, Robert Macke, Patrick McWilliams, Jeff Miller, Emily Mohler, Torie Pate, and Quinn Stiefbold.
SOLDIER'S CHRISTMAS will be presented at the Corbett Theatre at Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky, on December 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. Advance tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and $18 for students. To purchase advance tickets or for more information, visit www.Cincyticket.com or call 1-888-428-7311. More information about the play is available at www.soldierschristmas.net.