Book and additional lyrics by Suzanne Lofthus
“11” is Cutting Edge Theatre Productions newest musical – still very much in development. Inspired by the sacrifice of many thousands indeed millions of men and women over the years through war and the fact that we continue to send people in to situations of warfare, we wanted to examine the futility of war through specific time periods. To do this we have chosen the First World War through a German foot soldiers eyes; the Second World War in Glasgow through the eyes of children and in Auschwitz through the eyes of a young woman; modern warfare whether that be Iraq or terrorism.
“11” seeks to push back some of the preconceptions that Musical Theatre is frothy and all happy endings. It is our most ambitious project to date.
It seeks to make a statement that we can all make a difference whether that is standing up to a bully in the workplace or marching for an end to poverty through the streets. If we stand up, we can make a difference!
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Amidst the piles of rubble, where stone lay upon stone, like some collapsed pyramid, there lay a doll. A rag doll with red hair and a purple dress. Intact but battered and torn. Like the life destroyed around it. A smile on her face seemed pointless and almost horrific in amongst such horror. Brown freckles dotted her pink face but aged with hugs. She lay limp in the dust.
The six characters enter [instrumental music] and stand facing different directions on the stage area. They are dressed in black, no idea of time or period for them. They appear shellshocked and move cautiously about the stage.
They begin to pick up clothes and make order from chaos. The things they pick up all hint at the people who have once worn them or owned them eg. A baby’s outfit, a fireman’s hat etc. One of the characters moves forward and picks up a coat. He stands centrestage with the coat in his hand. The others follow suit with the other items. Each from a different time period – “Together we move”
* The actors are in different areas of the stage and all are hearing or seeing the news that war has broken out in the different time periods.
* A montage of the 3 soldiers from WW1, WW2 and modern preparing to go to war.
* The women begin to write and read the letters home from the men
* Cut to the trenches in World War 1 the men sing of conditions at the front– “Here in Buckingham Palace”
* Cut to modern day with Mike and Sarah going about their daily routine, no different from any other day
* Cut to Auschwitz andHelena has just arrived in Auschwitz off the train. She is
*The scene moves to children playing on the streets of Glasgow in WW2. They talk about the blitz but are more concerned that they can no longer get sweeties!
* Montage scene. The men are eating. It is Summer and their shirt sleeves are rolled up. There is laughter and a general sense of fun being had. Picnics being had, a couple together etc. Either the men and/or women sing a traditional hymn encouraging people to be strong and fight which has now been turned around to inspire men to kill.
* Auschwitz - Helena is pushed on by a guard. He takes her to an area with piles of
* Scene moves back to Glasgow and some young women are getting ready to go to the
* Auschwitz. Helena is working and is approached by an SS Officer – Lukas who has taken sympathy on her. She is fearful of him but he is attracted to her and gentle with her.
* The men are writing letters home in all time periods
* Modern day and Sarah and two of her friends are meeting for coffee. Their chat is very like that typical of the “Friends” type show ie. girl talk and shallow! Lots of air kissing! Frankie has watched a documentary on Africa the night before and tries to explain to Amy and Sarah but they are having none of it!
* Auschwitz - Helena takes a break from sorting the clothes to continue writing to her
* First World War Henrik is home on leave and meets Carla in the street whilst she is
* Modern Times. 4 characters are sitting reading papers all with different viewpoints on the same story. The warping of the news that can take place.
* Glasgow – WW2. The kids on the street. Sally and Billy. Billy’s mother hasn’t come home from a night out. He is alone and doesn’t know if she is dead or has run off with one of the American soldiers she has been seeing
* First World War. Carla and Henrik are sitting back to back. Writing letters to each other. Carla is at home. Henrik is in the trenches.
* Auscwitz. Helena and Rachel are in the camp working. Rachel challenges Helena about her “relationship” with Lukas. They leave as Lukas enters and he sings of his frustration that they can’t see the person he really is – “The Man Inside”
* Warfare: We see Henrik and Mike on patrol in their different time periods. Joined by Lukas/Humanity. They are not speaking to each other, even though their words fit like a dialogue
* Auschwitz - Helena is brought on and is being taken to the Gas Chamber, there are guards there who are making light hearted jokes and re-assuring them that they are only going for showers and that everything will be okay. They all know that it will be far from okay. The prisoners are stripped and Helena looks into the eyes of the Guard who is herding them towards the door – “Behind his Eyes”
* Modern times – we see Sarah coming home and doing housework. She switches on the TV. It is a general programme and she is doing the housework, then suddenly it cuts to the news. A disaster has occurred. She doesn’t realise for some time and then becomes aware of the implications on the broadcast. She drops her work and begins to watch. The phone rings. We get a collage of people phoning etc. it is the letter home song but done by phone. Snippets of conversation are heard from people who will never be home again
* Finale – the cast assemble and wonder what another day will bring – “Another Sunrise”