There’s much World War I history to be learned when speaking to Jean-Claude Redonnet, of Falmouth. He has written two plays about the first Great War in Europe, with the focus being in France.
Redonnet has a distinctly French point of view on this particular history, because he is a native of France. The dates of World War I in Europe were July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918. It wasn’t until April 6, 1917, when the United States entered into the war, to defend France.
Unfortunately, there are no longer any World War I veterans living to tell their stories.
On November 11, 2018, the world will mark the centennial anniversary of the end of the First World War, or sometimes recalled as being the War to End All Wars.
Two plays written by Jean-Claude Redonnet of Falmouth have recreated pieces of this history.
In his first play, he told the story about a World War I encounter, titled ” Rendez-vous at Moscou”.
This year, to mark the centennial remembering the end of World War I, Redonnet has written and collaborated on a second play to be performed on June 16 and 17, at PortFringe, at the Mechanics Hall on Congress Street.
A Prince In A Sky Blue Uniform, will be performed at the PortFringe festival as posted on the website. A summary about the play is described.
It’s a look back at a time, when a young generation called their fight “the war to end all wars.” While America debated its participation in the conflict, an American flier plunged into combat. Moreover, it’s a salute to Norman Prince, a Harvard-educated volunteer who died for liberty on behalf of France. The play is directed by Richard Sewell.
A Prince in a Sky Blue Uniform is the inspired history about the American airmen who
dared to fight in the aerial war to defend France, during World War I.
Redonnet has drawn attention to these early aviators/. (I love the title of this play!).
In researching more about this aviation subject, I found reference to La Fayette Escadrille (Escadrille La Fayette). They were a United States volunteer unit constituted in 1916, under French command, that went to France during World War I. As described in the history of the Escadrille of the Aéronautique Militaire, the group was composed of American volunteer pilots who were flying fighters, named in honor of the Marquis de La Fayette, who was a hero of the American Revolutionary War. At the time, when the aviators went to the defense of France, the United States had not yet entered into the fighting. In fact, World War I marked the beginning of using airplanes as weapons of war. Airplanes were just coming into military use at the outset of this war. Initially, they were used mostly for reconnaissance.
I first met Jean-Claude Redonnet when we enjoyed a cup of coffee in Falmouth, where he lives. He is a European born American who is a spokesperson about international issues and, bien sûr, as a native of France, he is fluent in French.
He is a cultural historian with experience in academia (research and teaching) as well as diplomacy.
In his first play, performed in 2016 at PortFringe, he explained, “Rendez-Vous at Moscou”, was about a surprise meeting of two soldiers (his own maternal grandfather and his grand uncle) that occurred in February 1917, and the face-to-face encounter was a complete surprise. A photographer happened to have immortalized the scene of the happenstance meeting. Many years later, at family dinners, the two men showed their historic picture while narrating what happened that day in WWI. “What truth was really lying under the shiny surface of their polished narrative?,” is a topic of the play’s dialogue.
Check this link at PortFringe for the schedule and ticket information.
I hope to see you! J’espère vous y voir !