“Waiting for the Parade” is a play that profiles five women named Janet, Eve, Margaret, Catherine and Marta who lived in Calgary, Canada. They were housewives, mothers and daughters of men that fought in WWII between 1939-1945.
The Sonoma State University Theater Arts Department has taken on this classic play and interpreted it in their own way. Instead of the usual venue of Person Theater, this smaller production is being featured in Studio 76 in Ives Hall.
The characters Catherine, Janet, Margaret, Eve and Marta restlessly spent their days sewing, preparing care packages, singing chants in an effort to support the young men in their community going to war. In the play, these women’s lives revolved around the war and the production reflected how the war was incorporated in all aspects of their lives.
The portrayal gave key perspective on what it was like to be a woman during wartime in Canada. It also touched on topics like sexuality, feminism and fidelity. Catherine, played by Katee Drysdale, gave a captivating performance of a housewife who achingly missed her husband and was utterly transparent about her experience with him being gone.
During one scene, Catherine received a telegramnotifying her husband had gone missing. Assuming the worst after receiving the telegram, Catherine gave a heartfelt monologue reminiscing about her husband.
“To tell a story about a man that goes away one piece at a time… that’s what really hurts. First his arm, then lips, then teeth all fade away one piece at a time until I completely forget,” said Catherine.
This was significant because it represented how their loved ones had been gone so long they now only seemed like a distant memory.
An interesting perspective was highlighted in this production was that of a daughter of a German family named Marta, who was outcasted by the other Canadian-born women. Janet, the self proclaimed bossy leader of the women played by Anna Leach in one scene expressed how anti-German she was and continually tried to stifle Marta’s open display of her heritage.
However, as the plot progressed, it showcased how Marta was more similar to the women than different, considering her father was in a German soldier camp, and Marta was unsure of his return.
Ultimately, Marta experienced the same emotions of anguish, fear andresonated with the women, although Germans were considered “the enemy” during this time.
Towards the end of the play, all five women delivered heartfelt monologues about their experiences with the return of their husbands. You could feel the audience hanging on to every word.
The audience could see how the attitude of the wives transformed throughout the play from being hopeful and anticipating the arrival of their husbands, to the disappointment, anger and sadness they reflected once they came back.
It was commendable how this production exposedan event like war can not only change a person’s life, but change their character as well. In the beginning, the women humbly did their housewife duties and began to incorporate war as a part of their life.
As the play continued, their anxious thoughts, fears and ultimate dissatisfaction was exposed during the climax of the play.
At the end, the women celebrated the ending of the war joyously, however, the event notably changed their characters completely. The well developed plot and dynamic characters make this production a must-see.
The Theater Arts and Dance Department will present “Waiting for the Parade” Thursday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m., as well as Sunday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. in Studio 76 in Ives Hall.