The story begins in 1916 when Edna Harvey, a widow with a son (Albert) serving overseas, moves from Toronto to live with her brother in the Victoria Park area of Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener). Grieving the separation from Albert, Edna is immediately embraced into the bosom of the chaotic but lovable German-Canadian family living next door, comprised of two boys (9-year-old Manfred “Manny,” and 18 year-old Jacob, “Jay”) and their crotchety but adoring guardian, Uncle Martin. The charm of everyday life in the back yard is increasingly disturbed by the intimidating presence of the 118th Battalion and the campaign to wipe the name Berlin (and all things German-Canadian) from memory. Edna must decide how to fulfill her duty (which she considers every woman’s obligation) to recruit Jay for the war effort while deploring the injustices she sees Jacob and his family facing in Berlin.
I was amazed at how you could have me tearing up one minute, then laughing the next."
It captured a piece of our past, nearly a hundred years old, which should never be lost. The story itself is sensitive, charming, moving, believable, and totally engaging."
Congratulations on producing a spectacular, fun and inspirational show!! The acting and musical talent was simply incredible, the setting was excellent and the atmosphere was electric!!"
The play speaks very well to the turmoil and agony that so many went through – ably accomplished with sensitivity and well placed humour and comic relief to build a picture of that time for the audience. This is a subject not commonly dealt with in the history of the Region, and it is a story that needs to be told.” – David Neufeld, Education Coordinator, Waterloo Region Museum
Congratulations on a successful first performance of a powerful play. I was impressed with the acting and amazed at all the staging and music and how this all came together . . . worthy of any great stage."
Congratulations on a remount of this wonderful play. After I saw it, I dug up my old research on 1916 and began a file on the recruiting story . . . I think it’s perhaps the most defining year in Berlin/Kitchener’s history.”