Theater: Plays

'In Fields Where They Lay'

Casting notice expires: September 12, 2014

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Dreamscape Theatre
Brad Raimondo, producing artistic dir.

Production Description

The Dreamscape Theatre is casting five male roles (one Jamaican, four English) for its upcoming production of the play "In Fields Where They Lay" by Ricardo Pérez González, directed by Brad Raimondo with musical direction by Anna Ebbesen. Originally produced by Dreamscape in December 2009 (and hailed as “gripping drama” by the New York Times), "In Fields Where They Lay" tells the incredible true story of the World War I Christmas Truce: a spontaneous ceasefire between German and British soldiers that began with the singing of carols across No Man’s Land on the night of Dec. 24, 1914. The play returns to the stage this Decemeber as part of The New Ohio Hosts (The New Ohio Theater's prestigious curated rental program) to coincide with the 100th anniversary of this incredible event. Blending powerful storytelling with the letters and diaries of actual soldiers, "In Fields Where They Lay" is a Christmas story like no other, as seen through the eyes of the men who lived it.

Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations

Rehearses evenings and weekends throughout the month of November, 2014; load-in Nov. 24; tech rehearsal Nov. 30 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving); opens Dec. 5; special performance the evening of Dec. 24 (no performance Christmas Day); closes Dec 27. All rehearsals in NYC, location TBD; performances are at the New Ohio Theatre on Christopher Street, NYC.

Compensation & Union Contract Details

Principal roles pay a stipend of $800. Equity Showcase Code.


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In Fields Where They Lay — Synopsis
by Ricardo Pérez González

It was the war to end all wars. It was a Christmas like no other. These are the men that made history:

The First World War, 1914: a troop of British soldiers joins the battle on the Western Front: Thomas Pfeiffer, a family man just trying to get back to his wife and child; Harold Dietrich, estranged from his family and hateful of his German heritage; Teddy Jones and Giles Anderson, two underage friends who enlisted together, one to avoid being branded a coward, the other to protect him; and Philip Osbourne, who battles the racism of the time to become one of the first soldiers of African descent to be sent into combat.

The trenches are a nightmarish land of maggots and muck, the earth a churning mud pit in which the men wallow like pigs. The embittered Dietrich, the shortest of stature and the surliest of the bunch, becomes the troop whipping boy, while 16-year-old Jones and Anderson are put through the hazing expected for young soldiers. Gradually Osbourne, an outcast, an exotic “other,” becomes integrated into the corps of men. Their first battle leaves the troop dispirited, as they lose Anderson in a pointless skirmish in No Man’s Land, the area between the British and German trenches.

As they each cope with the loss of one of their number, Christmas Eve catches them unawares. A magical frost hardens the earth, making it possible for the men to stand on solid ground for the first time in months. Presents from home soften their hearts.

Suddenly, a glow lights up the German trenches. First one, then another, then another. Through the distorted view of a trench scope, the men make out the luminescent outlines of Christmas trees, hundreds of them, adorning the German trenches. Sounds begin wafting across No Man’s Land. German voices raised in song: Stille nacht, heilige nacht...Silent Night. The British soldiers join their German counterparts in song, and from the music a short-lived truce is born, sealed by the broken English of a German soldier: “we no shoot, you no shoot.”

The impromptu truce transforms the men. Osbourne, while knowing history will forget men like him who served in the Great War, has gained acceptance among his peers. Pfeiffer begins to believe he will make it home in one piece, and Jones begins to grow into a young man. Only the self-loathing Dietrich resists, and it’s he who fires the shot that signals the end of peace. It’s a shot that will cost millions of lives, and it’s his brothers in arms who will pay the highest price.