Theatre Royal Stratford East presents a new production of Oh What a Lovely War in its 50th anniversary year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the First World War, directed by Terry Johnson.
The show was a landmark in early multimedia theatre in the 60s, making use of projected slides and a ‘ticker tape’ panel of lightbulbs to present statistics as the war unfolded. We ran with this, developing this into video through a series of stills, period paintings and photographs to set the location and help with the frenetic change of scenes. The ticker tape was updated to a section of LED panel, the statistics creeping across with the slowness of a rolling news graphic, and the original slides researched, re-sourced and added to with archive material from the Imperial War Museum.
In homage to the original, we still start the show with a slide projector – we photographed and developed the slides ourselves in the Mesmer studio.
There’s a homespun feel about Johnson’s production which is true to the spirit of the original while also making deft use of projections
evocative, photographic projections
As the casualty count and gaining of ground is replayed on an electronic board, scenes unfold in front of it that give a human face to the alarming statistics.