TONY and Gill Horitz’s trilogy of plays about the effects of World War I on Wimborne came to an end with Aftermath, performed in the Dining Room of the Hanham ancestral home, Dean’s Court.
Following Tommy’s Sisters and The Gathering, this was a play set in the days and weeks immediately after the cease-fire was announced, and, as the writers discovered, much less is known about those who survived than those who lost their lives.
The project was commissioned by Priest’s House Museum, and has continued throughout the anniversary commemorations of the Great War .
This week, prior to two public performances, students from Queen Elizabeth’s School packed the Dean’s Court room to experience the intense intimacy of four stories. Sub-titled “in the wake of war”, the writers chose four Wimborne residents, each from a different social background.
The company was delighted that Sir William Hanham opened his house for the performance, made especially evocative by the fact that the story of Sir John Hanham – known as Jack – was performed in the very room in which he wrote his poems and battled with his post traumatic stress disorder, not that the phrase had been invented at the time.
Aftermath focusses on his story, and those of the local doctor E Kaye Le Fleming, laundrywoman Eliza Burden and blinded seaman Samuel Durrant. Information was collected from their descendants, and from the Hanham archive.
Performed by Jake Baker as the fragile Jack, Michele O’Brien as the heartbroken Eliza, Steve McCarthy as the wounded Samuel and Stuart Glossop as the visionary doctor, Aftermath’s action includes poems, letters, seances, medical consultations, tortured reminiscences and rowdy celebration – all with the audience just feet away, and totally involved.
The three plays have been a rivetting insight into lives of people whose families we recognise, living in a familiar town in unfamiliar times..
See this final play on Thursday 12th September if you can.