"If someone in the year 1916 told me that in 1917 I'd be in the army, I would have thought him insane," said Charles Edward Dilkes (1887-1968). Meet Sargent Dilkes, poet Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), pilot Kenneth Russell Unger (1898-1979), nurse Amabel Scharff Roberts (1891-1918), "Hello Girl" Grace Banker (1892-1960) and other Americans who went to Europe when the United Stated entered World War I a hundred years ago. A YEAR IN THE TRENCHES is a world premiere based on Dilkes' book Remembering World War I: An Engineer's Diary of the War, and other historical accounts. Charles Edward Dilkes was born in Philadelphia, but spent the rest of his life in New Jersey after the war. Live music from the period is performed throughout.
The script for this world premiere, written by James Rana and developed with Gayle Stahlhuth, was commissioned by the New Jersey Historical Commission and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Gayle Stahlhuth is directing the full two-act production in Cape May.
The first staged reading of a one-hour version of TRENCHES was at The Bickford Theatre in Morristown, NJ, sponsored by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's Stages Festival. On April 28, another reading was at the Ocean County Public Library in Toms River, NJ, sponsored by the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Additional readings are planned for McGuire Air Force Base/Fort Dix, a location in Trenton TBD, and Ocean County Community College. The staged-reading version was directed by Eric Hafen, Artistic Director of the Bickford Theatre.