“Calm Before the Storm” (Journey’s End Act 2 Scene 2) – A Reflection

Going through the interpretation process was both exciting and frustrating in terms of execution–at least that’s what I thought. After some discussion, we picked the section we did due to the interesting dialogue between Stanhope and both the Sergeant-Major and the Colonel. Then, as we practised those couple times, we realised that the script is hard to execute in terms pacing and emotion (as mentioned by Petra and May’s comments). Having said that, we did the best that we could. Surely though, our interpretation upon the text lacks in detail that the “naturalistic” play does. Being the residents of Shunyi, the life experience that we have lessens that emotional punch that residents of 1920s Britain felt at the time. In 1926, Britain had crawled out of the First World War with just over 900,000 fatalities, a horrific loss for both the government and its people. Thus, the interpretation within the 1926 play holds more true to the horrific content that soldiers faced, as well as impacting its audience more seriously and effectively. Still, however, one message remains clear for both audiences in 1926 and today: we should cherish and praise the heroic soldiers rather than their heroic actions, as war is horrific and conflict should never be celebrated.

The above message relates to the global issue of politics, but I believe that another main issue is present within the play: power. I mentioned this in a comment on DX, but I said that Sherriff depicts an issue of how power often falls upon those who are unable to aid those they are responsible for. Tying this in with the other statement about politics, the public shouldn’t celebrate the army and its military generals and whatnot, but rather look at the soldiers and how they’re just regular people making sacrifices. These people are what won the war; they were brave and fought on despite the circumstances.

Overall, this experience with interpreting the play through execution really did let me reflect on how Sherriff wanted the play to be shown. Unlike reading the text, I felt like I really was experiencing (to an extent) what Sherriff had undergone and felt during his time during war: the hesitance, the respect, the fear. I had to express these emotions through facial features, actions, and through my words, something that requires reflection. And through that, I’m able to understand Sherriff’s message and appreciate the sacrifices that the soldiers had made, and fight for a future that doesn’t repeat itself.

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