On tour with Arts on Tour NZ Trust - Kate JasonSmith
Why did France award the Legion d’Honneur – its highest accolade for exceptional courage to Phyllis, a little known Kiwi woman from Ireland?
About the play
Phyllis JasonSmith was one of only two NZ women ever to have been honoured with France’s highest decoration, the Legion d’Honneur, for bravery in WWII. And she was my mother.
We grew up on war stories of bombs screaming overhead as she and other QA nurses crawled around the hospital tent on their knees among the constant stream of wounded and dying soldiers “…the only light our tilly lamps, the only water a barrel outside the tent door.” Not all her stories were tragic, in fact most had a lighter side, a twist, a punchline.
And then there was the love story, woven through her tale like a ray of hope. Phyllis was vivacious, courageous, humorous, haunted by the war until the end of her long life.
“Here there is humour, horror, pathos and poignancy that only the very best drama can convey.” Craig Cook, Adelaide Advertiser *Fringe Five Stars* BEST FEMALE SOLO.
Kate JasonSmith has spent most of her working life in theatre, ﬁlm and television, as an actor, designer, director, writer and producer. Kate was the originator and producer of the highly successful Hens' Teeth Women' Comedy Company that entertained NZ audiences for over 13 years. She received an NZFTV Best Drama award for directing her ﬁlm Xmas for Lou, and taught screen acting at the NZ Drama School Toi Whakaari and at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre.