Caroline Bryant, the director, collected oral history for the Futures Theater Company, a collection of young actors dedicated to using their considerable talents, to make ‘real’ theater.
What could have become one of the many, often tedious, but worthy, studies of 'Life in the East End’ became a fascinating snapshot of life in the underground shelters Londoners in SE1 often had to live in. This one is in the crypt of St. John’s Waterloo, the church just off the IMAX.
Caroline interviewed the women still alive who had to spend long days and nights there in 1940, with bombs raining down and little food or shelter anywhere. Men were at war the; women left behind had to manage somehow and keep their spirit alive, too. So we see them at dances, trying to be cheerful, and also watch the consequences of this.
We flinch at the common, easy racism expressed to the Americans, who joined the war late; are stunned by the resilient needed to survive, the difficult dilemmas mastered, somehow. These ordinary women leading their lives as best they could in these very extraordinary times deserved this honest enquiry presented so well. They were compassionate, fun, and somehow managed to get through these dark times, sustain their families, and be there to sustain their husbands, too, when they came home. And we are confident they would have managed their lives if they didn’t.
There is still room for a statue for these women. Maybe besides the new one for Bomber Harris?