First World War Assembly
First World War Assembly tackles the subject of World War I from all sides, the message behind it being that all participating nations suffered equally, there being no winners. The cast are a mix of rulers, generals and soldiers plus the assassin whose actions on June 28 1914 acted as the catalyst to the already existing tense situation.
Please note: The script is available in word document format on purchase of Performing Rights Certificate. The scripts remain free of performance rights for staging in the class room but as an assembly in front of a non-paying audience you need to buy a single Performance Rights Certificate to cover you for the play you are purchasing.
Suitable for upper Key Stage II children – Year 5/6 plus – though the script could be simplified for younger children.
Cast size: 30, Duration: around 15 minutes (reading time)
First World War Sample Text
(Enter British Wounded Soldier 1 – 5; Wounded Soldier 1 bearing the British flag)
Wounded Soldier 1: (Exploding) You saw plenty of action?
Wounded Soldier 2: What, from your nice comfortable headquarters, fifty miles from the Front?
Wounded Soldier 3: (Sarcastically) Oh but haven’t you heard how hard it was for our grand general here, wining and dining every night?
Wounded Soldier 4: And all that hunting during the day?
Wounded Soldier 5: And having to climb into that silk-sheeted four poster bed each night?
Wounded Soldiers 1- 5: (Together in exaggerated upper class accent) Sounds absolutely ghastly!
Wounded Soldier 1: I wonder how he would have survived just one day in the trenches?
Wounded Soldier 2: Guys like us died over those four years in the most horrific of conditions.
Wounded Soldier 3: No four star accommodation for us!
Wounded Soldier 4: No kidding! That Western Front was five hundred miles of misery, stretching from Switzerland to the English Channel, right across France.
Douglas Haig: (Tutting) Huh! Call yourselves men? All I’ve heard is moan moan moan moan moan!
Wounded Soldier 5: Better than what we had to listen to – the blast of machine gun fire! What chance did we stand? Talk about lambs to the slaughter!
Douglas Haig: Oh do stop bleating!
(All soldiers round on Haig, one by one)
Wounded Soldier 1: Do you have any idea what it was like in those trenches?
Wounded Soldier 2: Do you know what it’s like to have trench foot? Do you even know what trench foot is?
Douglas Haig: (Stuttering) Er um
Wounded Soldier 2: No! I thought not! Why would you? Well, just in case you’re interested, it was when your feet turned numb, swole up and then turned black – from standing in all that mud; gangrene often set in and then you’d have your leg amputated. Soaking wet socks and boots made trench foot as big a killer as the enemy fire!
Douglas Haig: (Shaking head) Doesn’t sound so good.
Wounded Soldier 3: And I don’t suppose you’d know what it’s like having a lice infested uniform?
Wounded Soldier 4: Or be able to imagine what it’s like going hungry, as rats the size of cats eat your rations?
Wounded Soldier 5: To say nothing of the constant fear – the terror of raiding parties and bombardment?
Wounded Soldier 1: And actually dying on that very barbed wire that was meant to protect us? Once you got tangled up, that was it. A sitting duck for snipers and enemy fire.
Douglas Haig: Well, I’m sorry, old chaps. That does all sound pretty grim. But how was all this my fault? We all thought the war would be over by Christmas!
Wounded Soldier 2: Yes, but as somebody in charge, do you not feel any responsibility for those mistakes you made?
Douglas Haig: (Exploding) Pardon! Maybe I should remind you who you are speaking to!
Wounded Soldier 3: Oh we all know that well enough! But since when was high rank an excuse for ignorance?
Wounded Soldier 4: Talk about stuck in the past! Let me quote what you said about the machine gun. You said it was a ‘much over-rated weapon’. Not for us, it wasn’t – on the receiving end!