|Photo by Edward Allen|
Never Let The Crew See You Cry made me cry, but it probably wouldn't make everyone cry. I cried because it made me happy to know that there are still people out there interested in preserving Alberta's rich aviation history through storytelling. I also cried because it made me miss my grandparents. They met at RCAF Edmonton at a dance during the war, and I will always regret not asking enough questions about what it was like.
But I feel like this play would have had more impact if it could have been expanded. There were only three actors, but a plethora of characters, and I found the shifts between characters sometimes jarring, as there were no costume changes. I found it hard to connect with the characters and it left me with several unanswered questions: why was Ethel drawn to the skies? Were there any clashes between her and the other girls? What about the women and the men? Did she ever get a chance to fly?
I felt like there was too much girly gossip, not enough of the nitty-gritty of war. The most gripping part was a re-enacment of Ethel being honoured in 2001 with a BCATP Pennant (which you can find hanging at the Alberta Aviation Museum), complete with a poem she wrote, "To A War Ace".
However, I did feel the the dialogue was wonderfully written, with plenty of laughs and plenty of singing along from the audience.
I truly hope that this play can be expanded - if not for the Fringe, then for some sort of tribute at the Alberta Aviation Museum - or turned into a memoir (I know a great writer/editor who's always looking for freelance work).
I don't think that there's enough knowledge, especially in Edmonton, of the vital role this city played in the war. Did you know that Edmonton was the busiest airport in the world during WWII? Why isn't this part of our history celebrated throughout the city?
I was truly honoured after the play to meet both Linda and Ethel and chat with them some more (this is when the crying happened. I sure know how to make things awkward!) and thank them both for sharing their family history with Fringe goers.
If you're interested in seeing Never Let The Crew See You Cry, you can see it at the following times:
Mon Aug 19 - 3:30pm
Tue Aug 20 - 2:15pm
Wed Aug 21 - 8:15pm
Fri Aug 23 - 6:45pm
Sat Aug 24 - 11:45am
Sun Aug 25 - 1:00pm