As we continue to take a peek behind the scenes with Teatro Vivo, we take a look at the community chorus – an important element of the show. Here Doris Dawsett-Muench talks about the chance to try something new aged 92!
When we were asked by Wendy who was inspired to form The Woolwich Singers 2 years ago if we would like to be part of the chorus in Mother Courage, and that it would involve quite a lot of walking in the Royal Arsenal, I thought that sounds like something at 92 yearsof age I could never ever do in a million years! However, Inoted the details, weeks passed by but it kept niggling away in my brain,until curiosity made me phone and leave my details. To my surprise I was given the dates to be at the Tramshed.
Expecting to be rejected due to being an ‘Ancient Briton’ I turned up and was embraced into an atmosphere of loving creativity. The very talented inspiring Sophie gave us a subject to improvise, which I readily began and then foundmy energy draining rapidly as I realised I was re-enacting a situation I had experienced on Sept 7th 1940, when I became a homeless London refugee.With Ed’s teaching and amazing musical gifts together with Sophie’sreassurances I soon recovered.
The days to the next rehearsal were spent in anticipation of learning more about Mother Courage and aware of the therapeutic effect it was having on me Irealised that my generation had no therapy during or after World War II. Grumbling about one’smisfortune was impossible as everybody was in the same boat, determined to survive, stop an invasion and keep our freedom. Survival is the timeless message we get from Brech’s Mother Courage.
WhenI met a concentration camp survivor in the Green Room at a BBC TV studio, he told me that ashe watched the lines of tragic humanity arriving, he knew which ones would survive.
My Grandfather was invited by the Government to go to the Front in the First World War to report what he saw, which he did, publishing it in ‘The Herald’ newspaper on Saturday March 16th 1915, ending the horrific details with two lines from Tom Hood’s ‘Song of the Shirt’
Oh God, why is bread so dear
And flesh and blood so cheap?
After this publicationhe was called to the War Office and as he put it ‘wrapped over the knuckles’ and told it was wrong to tell people the truth!
My daughter is in Ecuador trying to prevent her husband’s tribe from having their land taken away from them for barrels of oil. The tribes who have ‘sold out’ havedegeneratedfrom proud but shy self-sufficient people into displaced persons, using the pittance doled out on drink and as a resultthe World loses another chunk of the Rain Forest andall their valuable knowledge of natural plant medicinal cures. Each time I watch a performance of Mother Courage I see and hear new depths and emotions through Brecht’s words spoken with such heart felt passion, humility and wisdom by the Teatro Vivo cast. I feel howlucky I am to have met them and to be brought to the realisation that every generation has to go through, and have thestrength,to survive its own Mother Courage.
This experience has confirmed forme that love is stronger than hate.
For more information visitwww.teatrovivo.co.uk