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World War II play premiered at Liverpool Hope to be performed in Armenia

Flight to Arras production shot Wednesday 23 September 2015

A one man show which was premiered at Liverpool Hope University in 2014 is to be performed in Armenia.

Flight to Arras, written and performed by Liverpool Hope Professor Simon Piasecki, and directed by Dr Shelley Piasecka, will transfer to HIGH FEST, the International Performing Arts Festival, which takes place in October in Yerevan, Armenia. This year the festival will commemorate 100 years since the Armenian Genocide during the Ottoman Empire.

Flight to Arras is a poetic and moving retelling of the penultimate flights and autobiographic thoughts of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry over occupied France and is based on his book of the same title. Whilst he is best remembered for The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry wrote a number of philosophical books as a postal and later as a military pilot. In this play, the audience is taken on a sortie, looking down at the terrible beauty of a culture that is in flight, of villages, families, war, desperation, love, life and death. Saint-Exupéry was later to be shot down and lost over the sea.

Professor Piaseki’s paternal grandfather was a Ukrainian Polish refugee who in 1939 fled the Nazis, on foot through Europe and came to Britain where he went on to fly for the RAF. He was killed in flight in 1944, the same year as Saint-Exupéry.  

Professor Piaseki said: “Saint-Exupéry’s work really brings home the plight of the individual sacrifice for the greater good of humanity. He considers the flight of refugees and humanity's need to pick one and other of the floor. Given the proximity of Yerevan to Syria, the work resonates right now with questions that we face again, with decisions that we need to rise to as human beings, 'that each', as he writes, 'is responsible for all'. 

“It is a privilege to bring this play to Armenia on what is such an important commemoration. No matter from which country we come, any attack on humanity is a disaster. I hope that the shared themes of this play, which is based on the very real experience of Saint-Exupéry, will resonate with audiences in Armenia and be another vehicle through which we can explore grief, loss, our shared humanity and the human spirit.”

HIGH FEST was established in 2003 by the Armenian Actors Union NGO and brings together artists from around the world as well as promoting Armenian Culture in the international arena. 

Flight to Arras was premiered at the Cornerstone Arts Festival, Liverpool Hope University's annual public arts festival in 2014.  This year's festival starts on November 20th 2015 and will offer a completely free public programme.   

Profile: Dr Simon Piasecki

Flight to Arras - You Tube 

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