The play is set 3 days before the end of World War 1. While the end seems to be near, the military hierarchy is worried about one thing: keeping up the troops' morale and making sure team spirit is buoyed in order to deliver “the final act”.


It is during that crucial time that a splendidly diverse crowd is assembled, with a mix of soldiers from both colonial and metropolitan troops: Senegalese “marchers”, some Tonkinese men from the supply department, Algerian colonial infantrymen, artillerymen from Brittany, and other troops from infantry battalions, all come together for “Army Theatre”.


Although advancing to attack a redoubt requires superhuman strength, staging Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” presents these battle hardened warriors with another challenge altogether! In the words of Sergeant Lafarge, as he introduces the play, “Right, lads. It's a tragedy, and it's hap'nin' in Verona!” to which Corporal Maubert retorts “And there's another one hap'nin' in Craonne!”. The scene is set !


Humour and gloom therefore walk hand in hand. The serious situation is met with camaraderie as well as brawls. The adaptation of Shakespeare's work into daily life on the World War 1 front line allows the unfolding drama to be viewed critically.