Inspired by the letters of Australian women who served as nurses in World War One, Cheryl Ward’s Through These Lines is a very engaging and deeply moving homage.
Cleverly directed by Mary-Anne Gifford and brilliantly performed by a superb cast, this docudrama had me in tears.
Kate Skinner as Sister Florence Whiting gives a particularly powerful performance; she’s the sober soul navigating the awful, and absurd, tension between wooing and warring.
The production plays with the usual tropes of the WW1 myth; larrikin Australians and incompetent brass, but does so with intriguing invention. It did bother me that the war was presented more as natural disaster than the result of human action, but I’m prepared for a lot more of this over the next four years of the centenary of the conflict. It’s an understandable response to the pity of war, and to the enormous challenge of accepting our role in Big History.
These nurses showed enormous courage. And that’s a virtue we certainly need now if we’re to accept our current role.
Through These Lines by Cheryl Ward
Australian National Maritime Museum til Oct 5