One hundred years after the the Red Baron, the most feared and famous German fighter pilot ever was shot down over France, he is being brought back to life. With him, man the man credited with ending Baron von Richthofen’s reign of terror in the World War I skies, Edmontonian Roy Brown.
In his play, Roy Versus the Red Baron, Edmonton playwright, Kenneth Brown, brings them together in an afterlife Officers’ Mess. They relive the famous day that started with Roy just trying to prevent the Baron killing his friend Wop May, also from Edmonton. May would go on to be a legendary bush pilot.
Brown, (no relation to the his aviation namesake) is a veteran playwright, theatre teacher and actor. He has been writing plays for more than 45 years and taught at Grant MacEwan University for 35 years. He says he became fascinated with this story after a conversation with Denny May, Wop May’s son.
“That inspired me. And once I had read some of the memoirs of Roy Brown and of the Baron von Richthofen, I had to write the play,” Brown says.
“Because of the nature of the way each of these men expressed themselves. The Baron as an absolutely hide-bound aristocrat and Roy Brown as a quite shy self-effacing and dutiful, typical Canadian, I wanted to put those two voices together on stage.”
In the play Brown and von Richthofen attempt to reconcile their conflicting views of the world through stories, jokes, drink and song.
Brown’s creation debuted this summer at the Edmonton Fringe Festival,and he is eager to bring the story to a setting with so much aviation history, Edmonton’s Hangar 14, built to train pilots for World War Two and now home to the Alberta Aviation Museum.
“Its the place were so much important aviation history happened, in fact world aviation history happened. It means a great deal to be entering into this partnership with the Alberta Aviation Museum.”
Roy Versus the Red Baron will be presented December 13, 14 and 15th starting at 7:30pm. The Thursday performance will also feature a short presentation by Denny May on his father’s hair-raising encounter with the deadly German war ace.
“Its a wonderful closing of the loop,” says Brown. “It’s the kind of thing that has happened to me in plays of mine that have a historical base, when you tell stories and they come back to you in the most interesting ways.”
More details and tickets for Roy Versus the Red Baron here.