This is War

by Hannah Moscovitch
February 21, 2013 - March 10, 2013
Preview - February 20, 2013
A MODERN WAR STORY by a contributing writer to CBC Radio's AFGHANADA.

            See the trailer                       See an interview with the playwright

“This one thing always runs in my head. I want to do right by my guys. I’m responsible for them, for their lives. It’s on me. That’s the main thing. I want to do right by my guys.”

Four soldiers in Afghanistan are being interviewed about an incident all too common in war, but unimaginably horrifying to those of us safe at home. Four different perspectives draw the audience into the soldier’s reality, where the split second in which the decision is made to shoot or not shoot is the very essence of war. What is the aftermath of that kind of experience, and how do soldiers get through it to continue doing their job?  These are questions that deserve examination, but don’t often get discussed.  Hannah Moscovitch is Canada's hottest young playwright, and brings all her storytelling skills to bear on this very controversial war.

Audience advisory:  This is War contains violence, sexuality and explicit language.

Running Time:  90 minutes, no intermission

World Premiere, produced in association with Tarragon Theatre

“...extraordinarily intense performances." -- Stage Door

“…brilliantly constructed, morally complex…” -- National Post

“tense, searing…” -- National Post

“Raw, breathtaking experience.…the true essence of war…” -- The Arts Scene (Toronto)


“Stunning! Intense and terrifying…”

“WOW. Intense. The acting was incredible. It felt real.”

“Fantastic! Powerful! I felt like I was there.”

Canadian Military Family Magazine wrote about the Toronto performance: Where Moscovitch’s writing really shines is in her ability to express the perspective of a soldier. There are no heroes or cowards, just men and women doing their jobs, making split-second decisions and then living with the consequences of those decisions.”


             John Cleland & Ian Walker                                 Ian Lake & Lisa Berry
                Photo by Bruce Monk                                 Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

>> See a scene excerpt (courtesy of Winnipeg Free Press)

High School Matinee -- Wednesday, February 27 at 12:30 pm
                                     AND Wednesday, March 6 at 12:30 pm
Tickets only $10 (teachers come free with 25 students or more)
Call (204) 925-5256 for more information
>> Click here to see the Study Guide

Playwright Hannah Moscovitch says:
“I wrote This is War because of the confluence of three events in the spring of 2008.  1) I read an editorial in The Globe and Mail that asked why Canadian playwrights were only writing about the American war in Iraq, and were not writing about our war in Afghanistan.  2) The Banff Centre was calling for play proposals to celebrate their seventy-fifth anniversary. 3) I was meeting with military consultants and war journalists and talking with them about the experiences of our troops in Panjwaii for a CBC radio show I was working on.  And as I was talking to soldiers and journalists, I was becoming increasingly preoccupied with the fact that we were at war, and that our society would soon count a lot of very young veterans who fought a modern coalition war in a desert as part of its numbers.  I was also interested in the fact that journalists and war reportage tended to represent killing, in war, as either heroism or atrocity.  Soldiers, on the other hand, spoke about killing as an adrenalized split-second decision.  And that blind instinctive second in which killing did or did not occur was, it seemed to me, the essence of war. 

Artistic Director Robert Metcalfe says:
“I’ve been an admirer of Hannah’s work for several years and am pleased that we can offer this new play to our PTE audience.  We’ve been at war as a nation for a decade and rarely explore what that means and what the real costs are to the people we send to fight, to the country we are trying to build or to ourselves.  Moscovitch’s play is part of the conversation we need.”

Directed by: Richard Rose
Set & costume design:  Camellia Koo
Lighting design:  Rebecca Picherack
Composition & sound design:  Thomas Ryder Payne
Stage manager:  Nicola Benidickson
Assistant Stage Manager: Melissa Novecosky
Fight director:  John Stead
Military advisor:  Peter Cuciurean
Assistant director/ Production dramaturg – Maria Milisavljevic

Lisa Berry                   Master Corporal Tanya Young
John Cleland              Sergeant Stephen Hughes
Ian Lake                      Private Jonny Henderson (until March 3)
Brendan Murray         (Medic) Sergeant Chris Anders
Kevin Walker              Private Jonny Henderson (March 5-10)

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