Men who march away: A screenplay
Thesis DisciplineCreative Writing
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Fine Arts
Men Who March Away is a story about men and war, an ancient narrative recipe. In particular, two men who share some traits in common with their fellows but in other respects are unique. King and country mean little or nothing to them. They don’t fight in defence of the hearth-fire as popular myth would have us believe. The First World War just coincided with the prime years of their life and appeared to them as a refuge from the torments in their personal lives.
One of them, Richard Travis, is a taciturn, troubled loner, who assimilates easily into the Army and finds self-fulfilment on the battlefield. He wins New Zealand’s highest and most prestigious military medal, the Victoria Cross but is killed in action, before he knows of his achievement.
The other is the socially marginalised yet quintessential rough diamond, James Douglas Stark, Starkie. He enlists to escape the police and resists assimilation into the Army. However, he does his bit on numerous battlefields, saves Travis’ life but receives scant recognition.
Ending up in the same battalion, they’re forced into an uneasy alliance which makes them confront and alter their attitudes to each other and to their duty.