CADS are to perform classic wartime drama, ‘Flare Path’ by Terence Rattigan, as their contribution to this year’s Royston Arts Festival.
This has been a year when anniversaries of the events of the Second World War have reminded us how much personal desires have to be sacrificed in a time of global conflict. Although written in 1942, the play explores themes that are still relevant today.
Based in part on Rattigan’s own experiences as part of a bomber squadron, it tells of a group of airmen stationed in rural Lincolnshire for whom the fear of death is a very real daily possibility, and of the women who have to cope with the departure of their menfolk when orders come through for a sudden urgent raid on Germany and must face the prospect of hearing the worst.
Rattigan mixes stories of emotional conflict, personal upheaval and psychological turmoil that leave almost no one unchanged by the end of the piece. If all that sounds rather heavy, the play also contains much humour; eminent Sunday Times critic James Agate described it at the time as having “a laugh every minute… and a tear every ten”.