Story by Graham Jones
On 1st December about 70 people came on a freezing evening to Christ Church, Pitsmoor, to see the one man play “This Evil Thing”. This play has toured all around the country with the playwright, Michael Mears playing a number of varied roles, sometimes more than one at a time!
Michael Mears’ acting was intense and passionate. The theme of the play is the tough treatment of conscientious objectors in the First World War but it raises a number of difficult ethical and human dilemmas that are relevant to us all today. The leading character is Bert Brocklesby, a teacher and preacher from South Yorkshire who suffers brutal and inhumane treatment when he stands firm by his pacifist principles.
There was a lively discussion with Michael Mears afterwards in which he said:
“I am a pacifist. I am predominantly an actor and I wanted to write something to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. There was little about conscientious objectors in the media’s portrayal of the First World War and so the general populace know little about this aspect of the conflict. John Prescott saw my play and said he had previously had no idea of the hardships endured by conscientious objectors.
Conscientious objectors were not shot, although 306 deserters were shot and scores of conscientious objectors died in custody.”
Huw Thomas and Ingrid Hanson worked to organise staging of the play in Christ Church.