GENESEO — About a dozen people were the first to see the film version of the World War II play “Bombs & Blooms,”
“I am delighted with it and everything just came together,” said Director Ruth Henry.
The COVID-19 pandemic had prevented Henry and the cast from presenting a live performance. So instead, they put together a short clip collection of scenes from the performance.
Much like a movie trailer, the video will help give people a chance to see what the performance is all about before coming to see a full production, which Henry hopes to be able to present next year.
Production of the video was funded from a $5,000 decentralization grant awarded by the state Council on the Arts through the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts, which administers the grant program in Livingston County.
“Just seeing the reaction of this first audience confirms to me that this is a worthwhile show and also a worthwhile story to tell,” Henry said.
The 17-1/2 minute film is an educational piece that tells the story of home life and wartime service of a B-17 pilot during World War II.
It is a story that Henry said she based on her husband’s uncle and the time that he served in the military.
One of the highlights will focus on a pilot who was working at a flower shop when he enlisted. For Henry it is a production that she said not only tells the soldier’s stories but aims to show a more human side to the war.
“You will also get a taste of the soldier’s part. The toll it takes on the wife. While life goes on and you may appear to functioning well, there is a hole in your heart that few people may realize because you do not see it on the outside,” said Henry.
Videographer Jacob French shot and helped to edit the film, which all took place in the hangar at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo.
From delays in COVID testing results to noise from hot air balloons, Henry says there were some bumps in the road while filming the production but credits volunteers for helping the filming run smoothly.
“When I was getting ready to do my introduction I was thinking about all the things that the volunteers have done. It included moving the stages, moving the tables, finding lockers, finding me radios, bunk, towel and it was just overwhelming to think of all the support that I received from this production,” said Henry.
The cast was made up of seven actors. They are Kyle Critelli (pilot), Sophie Houseman (pilot’s wife), Diane Chevron (florist) and Peter Elliot (florist) of Rochester, Hannah Gressinger (neighbor Maxine) of Sonyea, Darius Kimball (florist worker, Virgil), who recently relocated from Rochester to Atlanta; and Liam Sykes (private) of Geneseo.
“I could not have asked them to do any better. One of the actors even turned a duet into a solo and he killed it. I am so proud of all of them. I am just delighted with all of the work that the actors did,” said Henry.
The short video can be seen on YouTube.
Henry hopes to stage a full theatrical production in September 2021. Versions of the play have previously been performed at the National Warplane Museum.
The video does not feature the entire show. There is still a lot more to come, Henry said.
“It does give a taste,” she said. “I still get goose bumps on the songs.”
Where to watch