I saw David Haig’s play Pressure at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on February 15th, 2023. The play stars Kevin Doyle as Dr. James Stagg, Malcolm Sinclair as General Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Laura Rogers as Lieutenant Kay Summersby, and Philip Cairns as Colonel Irving P. Krick.
Pressure is the story of the five days leading up to, and including the D-Day landings on June 6th, 1944. The play shows the conflicts between the American and British seniors advisors under General Eisenhower, specifically Dr. Stagg the Scottish meteorologist who argued that June 5th, the original day for the operation, known as Operation Overlord, would see bad weather despite a lengthy period of good weather and the opposite opinion of Col. Krick who doesn’t believe in the existence of jetstreams.
Underscoring this is the alleged affair between Kay Summersby and Eisenhower, as well as Dr. Stagg’s wife going into an early labour at the same time as the decision had to be made.
It all comes down to Gen. Eisenhower deciding to postpone the landings and then Dr. Stagg figuring out that a second storm that was on the horizon was actually breaking up, giving the Allieds a 24 hour period, June 6th, to launch the attack, a delay of only 24 hours which ultimately led to a successful attack
The play is gripping with real life events, showing just how important weather can be on our lives and how one poor decision (whether to attack or delay) could have changed the entire war and possibly ruin 18 months of planning.
My only disappointment was that the cast was using mics. This is uncommon for plays, especially when highly trained actors are used.
The play runs until March 5th at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. Go see it if you can. For more information check out Pressure.