Bolsheviki: A Dead Serious Comedy
Set in a hotel bar in Montreal on Remembrance Day, Bolsheviki has World War I veteran Harry “Rosie” Rollins telling young reporter Jerry Nines about his experience in the trenches. Rollins recalls men pissing their pants, losing limbs, and planning a revolt against their officers. The character of Rosie Rollins is based on World War I veteran Harry “Rosie” Rowbottom, who was wounded at Vimy Ridge. Fennario taped an interview with Rowbottom in 1979 in the old “King Eddy” Hotel in Toronto over a bottle of Bushmills whiskey.
Rosie’s meandering monologue delivers a blistering de-glorification of war as it shifts back and forth between his wartime recollections and the present. The veteran’s clattering, fast-paced description of life—and death—on the Western Front reproduces the chaotic sounds and rhythm of battle. This cutting-edge drama, profoundly in opposition to conventional histories of Canadian troops in World War I, debunks every sentimental notion of duty, heroism, and nationhood.