Monday, June 22, 2009

A new season for Washing Soldiers 1797

In the British Army of the eighteenth century, a very limited number of wives were allowed to accompany their husbands when they were sent to foreign posts. Before the regiment shipped out, the wives gathered around to take part in a draw to see who would go. The unlucky would pull a card which read “not to go”. For a lucky few the card read “to go”. When they arrived at their posting, conditions were usually very poor for the chosen wives. Little privacy, little female companionship and poor rations were usually their lot. To make matters worse, if your husband died, a woman had 48 hours to find a new husband. If she did not, she and her children were taken off rations and thrown out of the compound.

This scenario gives us the background for the Annapolis Heritage Society’s popular play Washing Soldiers 1797 which is now beginning its second season. When her husband died, Molly was thrown out of the Fort. To make her way in the world, Molly chooses to open a bath house so that she can provide a service to the soldiers at Fort Anne. As Molly says, “I wash soldiers for a living and I love my job indeed. I wash soldiers for a living and fulfill their every need”. Throw in a visit from the Duke of Kent, a rampaging herd of bears, the controversial parentage of one of our most prominent citizens, and some very catchy songs and you have an audience pleasing historical comedy.

Writer and Director Kent Thompson, has loosely based the play on actual historical events which took place in Annapolis Royal. But, please do not confuse this with a serious historical drama. The moments of historical truth are broken up with a great deal of levity and a heavy dose of irreverence. Think of Washing Soldiers 1797 as Rowan Atkinson’s Blackaddar come to Annapolis Royal.

This summer Washing Soldiers 1797 will be held at the Farmers Market Square in Annapolis Royal on June 25, 26 and July 24, 25 and 31. The show starts at 7:00pm and there is no charge (hint, you may be asked for a donation). At intermission we will be serving apple cider courtesy of Ye Olde Towne Pub and there will be pastries made by the German Bakery for sale. If you are interested, there will also be soldier soap as well as Washing Soldiers 1797 t-shirts and CDs for sale.

All for now,

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