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Yesterday Never Returns : Script Extract

A school hall. Head master and staff and school choir on stage. Below, senior pupils sit at a table. The choir are singing ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’

MR. WRIGHTBoys, gentlemen and ladies, I wish you a good morning. A morning that once again dawns with a mixture of hope and despair, darkness and light, promise and –.

A boy rushes in from the back of the hall

EVANSMR. WRIGHT

MR. WRIGHTMister Evans –

EVANSSir –

MR WRIGHTThat is an entrance I would normally associate with the fire brigade –

EVANSSir –

MR. WRIGHTIs there a fire?

EVANSNo Sir –

MR WRIGHTAn earthquake?

EVANSNo Sir –

MR. WRIGHTUnderground explosion?

EVANSNo Sir

MR. WRIGHTThen please be so kind to take your seat –

EVANSSir, Morgan Jones has been arrested, Sir.

MR. WRIGHTArrested?

EVANSYes sir, police and everything, they dragged him off to Wormwood Scrubs and –

MR. WRIGHTMr. Evans –

EVANSAnd everyone was shouting at him, calling him a coward because he won’t go to war.

MR. WRIGHTMr. Evans!

EVANSSir?

MR. WRIGHTYou may well have a satisfying career as a town crier ahead of you but now is not the place.

EVANSSomeone gave him this Sir, a white feather, it’s what you give to cowards.

MR. WRIGHTPut it away Evans and sit down.

He sits.

EVANSDo you think he’s a coward Sir?

MR. WRIGHTWhat I think is immaterial. Mister Jones is entitled to his own opinion.

EVANS SITS NEXT TO A GROUP OF BOYS

TREVORYou got the white feather now, that means you’re a bigger coward than Morgan Jones

EVANSI only picked it up when he chucked it.

TREVORDon’t matter. It’s like the black spot in Treasure Island. You’re cursed. Coward!

EVANSAm not

MR. WRIGHTBoys! I do not think this is an occasion for levity. Do I need to remind you why we are assembled here this morning? If I do, then perhaps I should draw your attention to the young man sitting alongside you. A young man who should be a shining example to you all. A young man and an old boy of this school who is setting out on a journey that I can say with a mixture of pride and sadness, many of you will follow. On the fifteenth of this month 1914, D. A. P. Jones, who many of you will know as Dap, will be joining his regiment The Royal Welsh Fusiliers and leaving for France to engage in war against the Germans. In doing so he will be the first pupil, past or present to be actively involved in this Great War. The first, and as I say, and fear, not the last. I think I can speak for the entire school and the surrounding community when I say that we are immensely proud of him. I am sure he will not let down the school – or his country. We wish him God speed and a safe and swift return. .

The assembly disperses as the choir sing ‘BLAENWERN’

TREVORWell done Dap, congratulations. .

DAPI haven’t done anything yet.

TREVORYou wait, the Germans won’t know what’s hit them with a bit of Pengam coming at them. .

DAPI probably won’t even get to the frontline. .

I thought the play was excellent, it was first rate – credit must be given to the young people in so many different ways, the play itself, written by Larry Allan, the acting, music and set. I found it a very moving experience as did many people who saw the show.”

 

Wayne David – current MP for Caerphilly
Script Extract

Yesterday Never Returns

A powerful poignant play written & directed by Laurence Allan

In 1914 an ex pupil of Lewis Boys School, Pengam, went to France to fight for his country in the ‘war to end all wars’. He never returned. A 100 years later another ex-Lewis boy joined the army to fight in Afghanistan and lived to tell the tale. Their stories and experiences are shadowed by Morgan Jones, another ex-Lewis pupil who refused to fight and spend the duration of the Great War, as a conscientious objector in Wormwood Scrubs but went on to become MP for Caerphilly.

‘Yesterday Never Returns’  is the old school motto of Lewis School Pengam, it was specially commissioned by Caerphilly Arts  in partnership with Lewis School focussed on two soldiers, ex pupils of Lewis School, separated by a hundred years, one, D.A.P Evans, the first to fight for his country in the Great War 0f 1914 – 18, the war to end all wars and the other, Lloyd Davies, the last  soldier to be sent to Afghanistan in 2014.

The narrative is driven by a series of letters written home from the front and inspired by the discovery of a scrapbook of actual letters from the first world war written by ex pupils to the former Headmaster of Lewis Boys, Arthur Wright, the Mr. Chips of his day

The play had a special poignancy as it was performed at Blackwood Miners Institute on 11th November 2014, by young people the same age as those young people who went to war and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Inspiration

Inspiration hits you in the strangest places. In a park and in a skip. When Lewis Boys School was demolished they rescued an old scrapbook from a skip. A hundred years old and packed with letters from the frontline in World War 1. Ex pupils writing to their headmaster including one Dap Evans who never came back. I read them In Morgan Jones Park. Who he? Another ex pupil and conscientious objector who ended up MP for Caerphilly. Job Done!

Production Data

How? Many years ago, Spectacle Theatre Director, Steve Davis approached Larry with the idea of creating a play inspired by the little known Linton brothers, world cycling champions in the 1890’s who came from Aberdare. The Gladiator was a prototype for the first racing bike, designed in France.

Co-production with RCT Theatres, supported by Arts Council of Wales

Cast: 6 – 3 males 3 females

When? Spring 2015

Where? Premiere: Aberdare Coliseum. National tour of Wales