‘Peace on Earth,’ Award-Winning WWI play by VVA Member Kurt Hyde

Peace on Earth: The Christmas Truce of 1914, is a one-act play, written in 2014 by Kurt Hyde. The play, one of the winners of the 2015 Denton Community Theater Method and Madness New Play Festival, would take no more than an hour to perform on stage.

Most of the eleven scenes, which are based on real events, take place during a few days around Christmas Day, 1914 in the first year of World War I in British and German trenches and in No Man’s Land that separated them.

As the play begins, it is Christmas Eve. The men on both sides have been led to believe the war would already be over and they would be enjoying the holidays at home with their families. But that was not to be. The British and German troops in the trenches are just trying to hang on, and hoping for some kind of small celebration. At the same time, each side has been told to be alert for the possibility of a major attack.

The Germans are using a portable stove to prepare Christmas pastries and it looks to them as if the British are making some small preparations for the holiday as well. A German baker dons a tall white chef’s hat, having sensed that he might not be in danger on this day. On Christmas morning the melodies in the air indicate that both sides are singing the same traditional songs.

Eventually, officers from both sides meet in No-Man’s Land and agree to a temporary cease-fire. But, could an informal truce possibly hold? Before long, a soccer ball bounces out from the British side and a keg of beer is rolled out by the Germans.

No more than 20 cast members are needed for this play, and the playwright requests that no profanity is added to his script nor any graphic depictions of people being shot. Hyde, a USAF Vietnam War veteran and a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, recommends the play for dramatic readings by home schoolers and for presentations by church groups around the holiday season.

Peace on Earth is well thought out and written, and I have no doubt it would hold an audience’s attention while presenting its important message. The idea of peace on earth is difficult to argue with.

–Bill McCloud

August 12, 2021

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