Seventy actors and choristers have created a collective piece of theatre which explores the recruitment of the Acadians during the War of 1812.
The bilingual program consists of four original short plays created for this event interspersed with music by the Choeur Neil Michaud singing both traditional Acadian folksongs and military songs of the period.
The complete program of four short plays, entitled 1813 – Recruiting Acadians, will be presented on the Capitol Theatre stage on Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 pm.
- Heroes, Lies & Shiny Brass Buttons – Héros, mensonges et boutons de cuivre brillants by Dorrie Brown (performed in French and in English) – Set in Memramcook, a farmer’s family deals with the possibility of the father being chosen in a lottery to be sent to war.
- Love at War by Daniel Pelletier (performed bilingually) – A young couple of Acadian and English background are faced with a disapproving father. The grandmother (back from the dead) recounts the story of her people.
- Ma grand foi Djieu … Pe’wouère asteure by Mélanie Daigle (performed in French) – A mother who lost her own parents during the Acadian Deportation is afraid of losing her only son to the British army. Her faith in the Church is lost.
- Israël Robichaud parle de la guerre by Normand Robichaud (performed in French) – A monologue based on the real story of Israël Robichaud from Bouctouche, who died after the long walk to Kingston, Ontario.
The project involves students of all ages at the Capitol School of Performing Arts and the 30-member Choeur Neil Michaud, a renowned male chorus directed by Martin Waltz. This project examines why Acadians would have enlisted in the War of 1812. Were they promised land grants? Was there prestige in their small communities to be wearing a military uniform? How did the Roman Catholic Church value this war? How did wives and daughters feel about their husbands and brothers getting involved in yet another war?
Last February in Kouchibouguac National Park, many people enjoyed the re-enactment of the march of the New Brunswick 104th Regiment of Foot from Fredericton to Kingston.
“I’m glad I came,” said history buff Marc- André Blanchard of Shediac. “It’s just about the coolest thing ever.”
The project was conceived by the staff of the Capitol School of Performing Arts, Lynne Surette, Tim Borlase and Marshall Button. With the generous sponsorship of the Canadian government through its 1812 Commemoration Fund and research provided by Institut d’études acadiennes, Université de Moncton this project opens an unknown chapter of the Acadian contribution to the War of 1812.
The performance of all the components will be held June 12 at 7:30 pm on the Capitol Theatre Mainstage. Admission is $15.50 for adults and $12.50 for seniors and students. Tickets are available online at www.capitol.nb.ca or at the Box Office at 1-800-567-1922.
Partial presentations with invitations to Members of the Local Legions are being performed in schools in Petitcodiac, Sunny Brae, Memramcook, Bouctouche and Dorchester as well as at the Festival of Tall Ships in Miramichi.