Oh What a Lovely War.
Told through the songs and documents of the period, ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ is a satirical attack on military incompetence and the disregard for human life in the First World War. It remains a chilling reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.
In the early 1960’s, Joan Littlewood and George Devine, from The Royal Court Theatre, visited Berthold Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble. They were influenced by the minimalist staging and brought this European style of production back to their respective theatres. Joan Littlewood was familiar with the work of the expressionist techniques of Meyerhold in Russia, Piscator’s use of newsreel in Germany and the Theatre National Populaire’s use of a bare stage and pin-point lighting in France. This is evident in the staging of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, which has a style all its own: a documentary style of theatre with a combination of live music, dance, songs and sketches which, supported by a montage of images and information, creates a picture of life for those on the front line and those behind it.
Created and first performed by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, in 1963, it received great critical acclaim from London audiences and critics, and won the Grand Prix of the Theatre des Nations Festival in Paris. In 1969, a star-studded film version was made, which extended the play’s popular success.
Performed in 2014, by BA Acting students and designed by BA Costume with Performance Design, BA Make-up for Media and Performance, BA Arts and Events Management, and BA Modelmaking, the show was produced in collaboration with Kokoro BSO new music group.