Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“Love in the Trenches” in Dublin

World War I Photo
This month marks the centenary of the entrance of the United States into World War One. I am disappointed – though not surprised – at the paucity of Stateside commemorations of this pivotal moment in our history. It appears 21st-century America is a nation of citizens whose collective memory, unfortunately, is as short as their attention spans.

By contrast, Europe continues to mark The Great War with a series of events that will continue through November 11, 2018, the 100-year anniversary of the final day of that bloody conflict.

International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Logo
To cite one example, later this month, my spouse, actor-singer Chuck Muckle, will join me as we travel to Ireland to participate in the opening seminar of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. The two-week Festival, now in its 14th year, is the largest theatrical event of its kind in the world. Each year it opens with a seminar on a particular topic. This year’s theme is the First World War, and Chuck and I were deeply honored by the invitation to take part.

Here’s the program’s official description of the event, called “Love in the Trenches”:

“1917, the USA entered World War 1, bringing the European crisis to a global level. This war to end all wars wiped out a generation of young men, and thrust naive young women and men from their sheltered, innocent lives onto the battlefields of Europe. Poets such as Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen & Rupert Brooke left us vivid accounts of the horrors of war and the hope that endured. Featuring Flower of Iowa by Lance Ringel, a panel of international speakers will reflect on the impact of this ‘lost generation,’ and the few lesbian & gay love stories that blossomed in the horrors of the trenches that have survived one hundred years on.”
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Program


As part of the seminar, Chuck and I will offer a 45-minute dramatized reading from my WW1 novel Flower of Iowa. This presentation, which has been well-received by audiences across the United States and in London, features Chuck reading the role of American soldier Tommy Flowers, and myself narrating while also reading the part of his buddy, British soldier David Pearson. (You can read a short description of the novel here.) It also includes Chuck performing songs that gained international popularity during World War I, such as  “Over There” and “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary.”

Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle

International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Cover Photo
Our reading in the Dublin seminar coincides not only with the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into the Great War, but also with the third anniversary of Flower of Iowa’s release. I am delighted – and rather humbled – that the novel is still going so strong. It is available for download here.


“Love in the Trenches” will take place on Sunday, April 30, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Irish time, at The Teachers’ Club, located at 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin. Admission is free.