World War I Christmas Truce relived on the Holmes Theatre stage
"The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man's Land singing "Stille Nacht." Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it." Theatre Latté Da presents "All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914" at the Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes on Friday, Dec. 11. All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 relives an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas together. In some places along the Western Front the truce lasted a single night and in others it endured until New Year's Day. This dramatic re-telling weaves together firsthand accounts by thirty World War I soldiers and music including patriotic tunes, trench songs and Christmas carols. This moving ode to peace was created by Theater Latté Da's acclaimed artistic director Peter Rothstein with musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, produced in collaboration with Hennepin Theatre Trust. Creating All is Calm, by Peter Rothstein: "I studied World War I in high school and college, but I don't remember reading about the Christmas Truce in any of my textbooks. If I had, I certainly would have remembered. This extraordinary event took place in 1914, the first year of the war, and was never repeated. Thousands of men put down their guns and left their trenches to meet their enemies in No Man's Land. They exchanged gifts of tobacco, rum and chocolates; even photographs of loved ones. They sang songs, played a game of soccer, and buried each other's dead. Upon orders from above, they eventually returned to their trenches and re-instigated a war that would last four more years. So why did I not learn of this remarkable event? The propaganda machine of war is powerful, and the news of fraternizing across enemy lines humanized the Germans and readily undermined public support for the war. The heroes of this story are the lowest of the ranks- the young, the hungry, the cold, and the optimistic- those who acted with great courage to put down their guns, overcoming a fear that placed a gun in their hands in the first place. The story puts a human face on war, and that's the story I hope to tell." This heartwarming and joyous show about the spirit of peace across enemy lines will be at the Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Tickets are available online at dlccc.org, by calling (218) 844-SHOW or at the door the night of the show. The Historic Holmes Theatre is located at 806 Summit Ave. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support Grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.