Not About Heroes
through November 18, 2018
If we think that days of war are something that may soon end, or be past, then do not watch the news or read about recent history in various countries around the world. In this work by Stephen MacDonald, we meet two gents who are serving in the army in WWI.
Siegfried Sassoon (Eric Lang) has been sent back fro the front to be “treated” at Craiglockhart Hospital for his shell shock condition. In days of yore we had not diagnosed this as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; albeit in our nation we have hundred of thousands of people with PTSD, many of whom served in our armed forces.
Siegfried had written poems protesting wars as being evil and unjust, and he was thought to be a coward for doing so. To shut him down he was sent home to the hospital. It was there that he met a younger chap, Wilfred Owen (Chris Harding), who had suffered a head injury from a bullet when in the trenches. Owen and Sassoon had almost nothing in common, other than an attachment to poetry; yet they became fast friends. Owen went back to the front after being classed as able, and was lost in battle.
If you recall your history lessons, you may know that WWI ended with a Declaration of Armistice on November 11, 1918. It was a day celebrated in many countries, and we now know it as Veterans Day after President Eisenhower had the name changed in 1954. Regardless; it is a day of remembrance not just of those who came home with badges and medals, but of the far greater number who never came home. In WWI there were tens of thousands lost in the trenches, just as we lost a huge number on the beaches on D-Day.
A very poignant aspect of this production is that the characters are real, and the poem by Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth, is actually the one he wrote, and the message is not lost for us these days, 100 years post armistice. For it is not marches, flags and bands that we need to recall but the sacrifices of those who stood their ground.
The show is performed at 7 Stages and more info and tickets at: ArisTheatre.org