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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: April 10, 2017

The Theater Project mounts an original play about WWI

Written by: Bob Keyes
Sam Kelley in 1969 Photo courtesy of The Theater Project

Sam Kelley in 1969
Photo courtesy of The Theater Project

The Theater Project in Brunswick continues its season of original theater with “The ANZACS: Lest We Forget,” a play that tells of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps and its role in World War I.

The story is being told thanks to the persistence of local businessman Sam Kelley, whose interest in the topic led him to approach Theater Project actor and playwright Michele Livermore Wigton. She pitched the idea to the theater’s executive director, Wendy Poole, who commissioned Wigton to write the piece as part of the theater’s 45th anniversary season dedicated to original works by Maine artists.

Sam Kelley Photo courtesy of The Theater Project

Sam Kelley
Photo courtesy of The Theater Project

Kelley became familiar with the New Zealand Army Corps through a cassette tape that told the corps’ WWI story through music. Kelley loved it and played it often in his car. Years later, long after he replaced the tape with a CD, he learned the music and story was the work of New Zealand author Ted Egan, whose three uncles volunteered to join the Australian Light Horse in 1914. One died, another was taken prisoner and the other served three years on the Western Front.

“The ANZACS: Lest We Forget” tells their story – and the story of all wars. The United States joined the war 100 years ago this spring.

“It’s a good story because it tells about war, but doesn’t glorify war,” said Kelley, a Vietnam veteran. “The music tells the story of war the way it really was.”

Poole credited Kelley for bringing the story to The Theater Project. “Sam’s passion for the music has inspired us all, and his very personal insight on the injustices of war has led to a beautiful relationship and an extremely meaningful play for all of us,” she said in a press release.

“The ANZACS: Lest We Forget”

WHERE: The Theater Project, 14 School St., Brunswick
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 14-15
TICKETS & INFO: Pay-what-you-want with suggested donation of $20; theaterproject.com, 729-8584

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