Letters in Time


From an Original Idea by Jo Thompson
Produced and Directed by Ros Bolsover

Members of the Moraira and Teulada U3A and friends were recently treated to a truly outstanding performance of a wholly original play, written in-house by members of the U3A Drama Group and directed by Ros Bolsover.
The completely full house was taken on an emotive, whistle-stop tour of the first half of the 20th Century, appropriately, on this Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee year, beginning and ending on a Royal note. The opening scene was of a 1901 newspaper vendor selling papers announcing the death of Queen Victoria; and the final, celebratory, scene was of our current Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
What passed between these two most significant years took in many of the traumatic and literally, world shattering events of half a century of aptly dramatic change to social and indeed, global order. The story was told through an innovative series of letters between the protagonists, who included the Aristocracy and the Working Classes.
The misery and needless tragic loss of millions during the First World War was the backdrop in front of which the Upper Classes so cruelly displayed their damning arrogance, in the personage of the Hadley-Gray family.

The moving letter from the condemned front-line soldier, written just hours before his dreadfully unjust execution for desertion, summarily tried and sentenced by Officers who had never seen action brought tears to many an eye. As did the 2nd World War’s Holocaust Poem whose haunting memory probably lingers still with those who heard it in Moraira’s La Senieta, nearly seventy years later!
The poignancy of the letter home from the ship’s stoker who was so thrilled to have managed to secure work on the Titanic’s maiden voyage reminded us of the tragedy of what should have been such a joyous event.
But this play did not just focus on the sadness of the century – for example, the discovery of Penicillin was rightly lauded as a major medical development that has saved millions of lives since. And the ribald humour of the Land Girls had us all laughing and, for some in the audience, brought fond memories too! And seeing the perfect reincarnation of Marlene Dietrich added an extra touch of class.
The high note, flag-waving, feel-good finish of the 1953 Coronation had us all smiling as we left the theatre, appreciative of a superb script, some wonderful acting and personal memories inspired by this emotional roller-coaster of a play!
And, once the applause and post production acclaim had died down we were, to a man and woman, clamouring for the next play in the series! Let’s hope it’s a play of two halves with the latter half the 20th Century being the next in line!

Colin Harkness