WAITING on the EASTERN LINE
It’s a train journey that will change their lives forever. Many have heard of the tragedy and heroism that emerged from World War I trenches, but what about those who were left behind? Set in the fall of 1914, this work takes place in rural Nova Scotia in the hours leading up to and including a rail journey from the Eastern shore of Nova Scotia to Halifax. Young women of varying classes prepare to travel to the port city to see off the soldiers they love – men arriving back from military training at CFB Valcartier and boarding ship for the warfront.
Waiting on the Eastern Line begins as each woman packs her suitcase, preparing for the trip to Halifax. They complete the mundane tasks of their day lost in happy memories. Awake and restless through the night, the women tumble between excitement and dread as they anticipate the journey to come. They know that, although tomorrow will be romantic and exciting, it will also be the last time each one sees her love before he leaves for Europe and the warfront. The morning comes and they board the train, anticipation building as the steam engine chugs towards the city. The moment of reunion arrives, but the women are taken aback at the appearance of the men they know and love in soldier’s uniform.
Based on real wartime stories of separation, this work explores many individual narratives that are united by common experience. It is both concrete and ephemeral and takes audiences on the emotional journey of love, fear, loss, and change.
“As is usual with a Xara performance, the music is beautifully executed and soul-touchingly gorgeous. The incorporated movement and spoken word fleshes out the story and makes Eastern Line feel like a fully-formed piece of theatre.” -Kate Watson