The Foresters House – The LADS Theatre Co
November 12th @ 7:30 pm£8.00
“The Foresters House” by playwright Neil Rhodes is set on the last night of Wilfred Owen’s life, spent in the cellar of the Foresters house in Ors, Northern France just a week before the armistice. In his letters to his mother he writes of, and describes being, in the cellar, where he is resting up with his men prior to the offensive. The play imagines the comradeship and banter between the men prior to the horrors which face them the next morning. The play was first performed by the LADS in Oswestry in 2014 has been re-visited with this new version directed by Pam Johnson.
Sadly Neil Rhodes passed away recently and these performances are a fitting tribute to Neil in the centenary year of Wilfred Owen’s death.
* Tickets for this event should be purchased through Kinoculture
I will call the place from which I’m now writing “The Smoky Cellar of the Forester’s House”. I write on the first sheet of the writing pad which came in the parcel yesterday. Luckily the parcel was small, as it reached me just before we moved off to the line. Thus only the paraffin was unwelcome in my pack. My servant & I ate the chocolate in the cold middle of last night, crouched under a draughty Tamboo, roofed with planks. I husband the Malted Milk for tonight and tomorrow night. The handkerchief and socks are most opportune, as the ground is marshy, and I have a slight cold!
So thick is the smoke in this cellar that I can hardly see by a candle 12 inches away, and so thick are the inmates that I can hardly write for pokes, nudges, and jolts. On my left, the Coy. commander snores on a bench, other officers repose on wire beds behind me. At my right hand, Kellett, a delightful servant of A Coy. in the Old days radiates joy & contentment from pink cheeks and baby eyes. He laughs with a signaller, to whose left ear is glued the receiver; but whose eyes rolling with gaiety show that he is listening with his right ear to a merry corporal, who appears at this distance away (some three feet) nothing [but] a gleam of white teeth & a wheeze of jokes.
Splashing my hand, an old soldier with a walrus moustache peels & drops potatoes in the pot. By him, Keyes, my cook, chops wood; another feeds the smoke with the damp wood.
It is a great life. I am more oblivious than alas! yourself, dear Mother, of the ghastly glimmering of the guns outside & the hollow crashing of the shells.
There is no danger down here – or if any, it will be well over before you read these lines.
I hope you are as warm as I am, as serene in your room as I am here; and that you think of me never in bed as resignedly as I think of you always in bed. Of this I am certain you could not be visited by a band of friends half so fine as surround me here.” Ever Wilfred.