War backdrop to poetic bond

Not Abvout Heroes SUS-140411-093601001
Not Abvout Heroes SUS-140411-093601001

The extraordinary bond between the two ‘Great War’ poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen is the focus of the poignant play Not About Heroes that comes to the Devonshire Park Theatre from Tuesday, November 25 to Thursday, November 27.

Set against the backdrop of the First World War, this production of Stephen MacDonald’s play chronicles the unique and deepening friendship that developed - from their first meeting in 1917 at the Craiglockhart War hospital where both were being treated for ‘war neurosis’, to their final meeting in August 1918 shortly before Owen’s return to active duty.

Seen through the eyes of the older Sassoon - who is remembering events from 14 years previously - the play interweaves extracts from their real diaries, letters and poems. It also suggests their intense friendship was key to unlocking Owen’s genius as a poet and liberating him as a man.

Playwright Stephen MacDonald says he wanted to ‘understand how this relationship could leave such an indelible mark on the literature of their war and so on our understanding of war itself’ and hoped the play ‘might refresh the memory of who these men were and what it was they had to tell us’.

One hundred years on from the beginning of the First World War, Not About Heroes is both exhilarating and uncompromising in its exploration of love, war and a friendship that changed the face of British poetry.

Ben Ashton plays the role of Wilfred Owen and James Howard portrays Siegfried Sassoon. Suitable for ages 13+