Juno-nominated singer-songwriter and musician Miran
Dear Canada – Letters from the Second World War is streaming free until the end of the day tomorrow here on the National Arts Centre website.
The production is an artistic Remembrance Day commemoration presented as a radio play in the style of the day — with music and foley — using real letters from Canadians during the Second World War.
“Starting in 2021 and working in partnership with the NAC and the Royal Canadian Legion, we put a call out for submissions for this project,” Miranda said.
“I read over 3,000 letters — well, that’s where I lost count anyway. There was enough incredible content to create over 3,000 presentations. There was a story with every letter writer … The collective voice is so powerful, and I hope you will feel as I did, listening to letter after letter – in turns funny, tender, stoic, and harsh – that the humanity that connects us is bigger than the sum of its parts.”
The show is one hour long, and it uses letters from over 45 different Canadians and 14 songs, both of the time and contemporary. This is paired with historical context uncovering rarely told stories like the Cree Code Talkers, teens in Japanese internment camps in Canada, and some unsung war heroes like Mona Parsons, a Canadian civilian and former Ziegfeld Girl who escaped imprisonment by the Nazis and walked 150 kilometres to freedom.
After the script was finished, the cast assembled for five days in October 2022. They each contributed creatively to the final work—filmed at the Mule Spinner in Hamilton with Brittany Farhat at the helm of her fantastic team at Good Job High Five. Joining Miranda are Julian Taylor, Patricia O’Callaghan, Jamie Drake, Tak Arikushi, and Vikki VanSickle, who is also the dramaturg.
Miranda also created an accompanying website that holds the biographies of all the letter writers, archives, and photos.
This show is the second in a series that began with, Letters from the Great War, a project created for Soulpepper Theatre Company in 2018 using letters from Canadians during the First World War. It was filmed for presentation on the National Arts Centre’s digital platform for Remembrance Day in 2020 and 2021.