The Prisoner of War No 36 Vol 3 April 1945

The Prisoner of War April, 1945 The MMrightes* Side Pantomime programme at Marlag und Milag Nord. F'EW camps have put on a more impressive selection of shows than Marlag und Milag Nord. Bandwaggon and Marlag Coons are among the regular features. Such ___________ well -known plays as French Without Tears, Hobson’s Choice, and The Importance of Being Earnest have been produced while Gilbert and Sullivan have been well represented with H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers and Pirates of Penzance. Pantomimes are regular favourites and the men have pro­duced Aladdin, Cinderella, Robinson Crusoe and Dick Whittington Their skill in reproducing all the atmosphere of a West End show is shown by the front and back covers of the pro­ gramme devised for Dick Whittington, which was written and produced by one of the prisoners. There were three acts of two scenes each -and music by Mac and his Grand Pantomime Orchestra. The cast consisted of 25, with a chorus- often villagers and eight “rats.” On New Year's Eve the Merchant Navy arranged a Fancy Dress Ball with some of the prisoners dressed up as girls, and had an excellent entertainment. H ogm an ay Dinner A prisoner in Stalag IVC writes of the New Year celebrations in the camp: ”Two of my pals, being Jocks, they in­sisted that at New Year we should have areal Hogmanay Dinner. One chap, a sign-writer, did some excellent painting of seasonal greetings, decorated the room and gave it a‘ really cheerful and cosy appearance Three of us did the cooking and 18-sat down to dinner.” After­ wards they had impromptu turns and a Most of the paragraphs on this page refer to activities in the big base camps and it should not be assumed that they are typical of conditions in all camp s'o r in outlying working detachments where facilities for sport and amusement^ are much fewer. sing-song ac­companied by a n accordion and guitar, and finally finished u p with a supper. In the. same camp they re­cently put on the sketch The Monkey’s Paw. It was origin­ally intended to produce it as an “eerie hair- raising drama,” but as things were rather hec­tic they eventu­ally put it on unrehearsed as a farce, rather, it appears, to the despair of the promoter. Still, the audience got plenty of good laughs. High Opinion of Shakespeare They have avery high opinion of Shakespeare in another camp, where The Comedy of Errors is halfway through its run. It is being played as sorta of pantomime farce, with song and dance, bright colours and red noses, and one prisoner writes:" I think the audience enjoy it, but they can’t get over an almost religious respect for William Shakespeare they sit and chuckle, refuse to applaud the songs and afterwards tell one that they are coming to see it twice more. Very odd ...”On Tour A corporal from Stalag 344E3 has written home to say that he is now at an entirely new place, 600 miles from his own camp. It appears that he is out on tour with one of their shows, Night Must Fall, which they are playing to prisoners who are notable to put on shows of their own. He added:” I am having some quite novel experiences. It is quite a change after four years in E3. You have probably read of the camp in the papers It is avery nice place.” Plenty of Entertainment There is plenty of entertainment to be had at Stalag IVB and prisoners have a choice of going to the pantomime or the musical revue, listening to music, or reading, playing football or indoor games. A t Christmas they produced a modern Nativity play, Christmas on the Green, which, in the words of one prisoner, recalled" a beautiful Miracle play of the Middle Ages.” The pantomime started its run just after Christmas, following a musical revue, Springtime for Jennifer, which had.been written by a prisoner and was "one of the best yet.” English football enthusiasts at the same camp are feeling very pleased with themselves because England recently beat Wales 3— o. Another prisoner who writes home is more enthusiastic about music. He writes: *'Bolt, who recently gave the Unfinished, Rosamunde, Ballet and Gluck-Motte Suite, has thrilled us with Beethoven (Ind. Sy. Fidelio, Egmont and that exquisite poem Romance inF). The orchestra o f 45 men is international and now plays finely. A young Warsaw violinist agave sensitive rendering.” Prisoner Play wright As a pleasant reversal of the usual conditions, it is interesting to be able to record that a prisoner of war in Germany was able to bring laughter and joy to a large number of people in England this Christmas. L/Sgt. Derek C. Lunn, a prisoner since Dunkirk and now at Stalag 357(22), was asked by his fiancee in Woking to send her something for her Girl Guides to perform. He forwarded a delightful outline of a pantomime, which, being too ambitious for her small company, was taken up by the local Commissioner. A treatment was outworked by an amateur play­wright in the neighbourhood, and four performances were played to crowded houses. The net result was a cheque for £100 being overhanded to the Y.W .C.A .Appeal Fund, and the pantomime has been so successful that hundreds of would-be spectators who were unable to secure tickets have insisted 011 further performances in the near future. The whole of the cast, comprising Brownies, Guides, Rangefs and Sea Rangers, signed a special letter of thanks to the author. Indoor Games A t this time of the year indoor games and recreation are naturally very popular. In Stalag IVB they organise quiz shows, and entertainments and lec­tures as well as all the usual indoor sports. Before the prisoners at Stalag Luft III were moved to the south-west, the camp had for a time a special enter­tainments section, with provision for lectures and classes. The most popular were those on French, German and shorthand.
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