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Director Selects: An Interview with “All Is Calm” Director Peter Rothstein

By Thor Steingraber

My taste in films is vast. I’m happy with a Hollywood blockbuster, and also watch a lot of foreign films and documentaries. I am not dissuaded by subtitles.

Nearly 20 years ago, I encountered Joyeux Noël, a French film about the 1914 so-called Christmas truce on the frontlines of World War I. The soldiers putting aside their differences for a night, despite their commanding officers, and emerging from the trenches for a Christmas celebration made for one of the most moving films I have ever watched.

Now, that story comes to our stage as All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, created by a theater troupe in Minneapolis and featuring the voices of an all-male chorale sharing holiday songs and carols from multiple nations. I can think of no message that more persuasively exclaims “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All Men.”

In my interview with the show’s director Peter Rothstein, he describes his in-depth research and all the ways in which he conceived a performance filled with authentic details. Rothstein is joined by one of the performers, James Ramlet, whom we will see at The Soraya on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. I assure you, the beauty of the music and the power of the story will stick with you for decades to come, much like it has for me.


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