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Waiting for the Parade
World War II drama wraps up GBCT season
The cast of Waiting for the Parade includes, from left: Ashley Dowgwillo, Susan Mills, Julie Shields, Caitlin Kline-Martin and Dyann Twitchell. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune


Not all of the casualties of war are on the front. John Murrell’s play, "Waiting for the Parade," is about five women struggling to cope during World War II while their men are away.

"Waiting for the Parade" is the final Great Bend Community Theatre production for the 2010-11 season. Performances are at 8 p.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 1, all at the Crest Theater, 1905 Lakin Ave. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. All seats are reserved; individual tickets are $10, available at the box office.

Murrell’s play is set in Calgary, Canada, and the five women come together because of the war. In one scene, for example, they meet to roll bandages for the Red Triangle.

Karen Kline-Martin, directing the GBCT production, said the story takes place over several years, from 1939 to 1945. Staging is minimal, with period music helping to set the scenes. The play can be appreciated as a period piece, but its themes are also relevant today, Kline-Martin said.

During the war, each woman faces her own struggles and finds her own way to cope, or not, as they wait for the war to end. They also learn to deal with the others’ feelings.

Marta, played by the director’s daughter Caitlin Kline-Martin, is a German woman who has lived in Canada since she was 9 years old. Now her father, suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer, has been interned, and she is ostracized.

Susan Miller plays Margaret, a crotchety widow, previously devoted to her husband and now to her children. She she spends much of her time in prayer, fearing she may also lose both of her sons.

Ashley Dowgwillo, performing in her first GBCT production, plays Eve, a young school teacher married to a much older man.

Catherine, drowning her sorrows at the Canadian version of the USO, is played by Julie Shields. Her husband is a soldier in France and she has an affair while he’s away. "She’s kind of a vamp," Shields said, "but she never loses the love for her husband."

Dyann Twitchell plays Janet, the bossy, bullying patriot and self-appointed chairwoman of volunteer work.

Great Bend Community Theater members are already looking ahead to the 2011-12 season, and season tickets can be ordered now. The public can learn more online at the GBCT website,, or on Facebook. For more information call 620-792-GBCT (792-4228).