Monday, 23 February 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

There is a lot of work going on around St Jean de Luz at the moment as the town rehearses a full scale production of Erich Maria Remarque's finest work. The enormous trenches they have dug (and redug) along the entire length of Rue Gambetta are very realistic. I just wish they would complete their practice and be done with it, clearly somebody keeps forgetting their lines or something and the trenches that were filled in on a Friday are having to be opened afresh on Monday. I am simply too excited about seeing the final production.

The above shot shows where Leer met his fate from shrapnel wounds, the actors have actually buried him under the street. He will stay there overnight, they take their method acting very seriously in these parts. I am impressed at how much they are getting into the spirit of the book. A mechanical lump-hammer is reproducing the noise of blitz warfare and thuds continuously throughout town from 0900 till 1700, it makes us all feel very special to be a part of this theatrical undertaking.

Today saw practice start on the final act. You will note that five men and a digger are involved in this scene. One man, I presume to be Paul Bäumer, sat in the machine while one, I think it was his close friend in the story Albert Kropp, poked about with a stick, the other three, clearly understudies, had the hardest job. They spent hours standing by idly doing nothing. The main actors were selfless though and took shifts with the other three, I was very impressed. I think the town opens the production to the public in 2011. I feel honoured to be so close to such artistry. As I write the 'guns' have started blasting again, it is very relaxing.

Basque of the day:- sarcasm :: sarkasmo