"Not About Heroes"
By Feelgood Theatre Productions
Written by Stephen MacDonald
2005, 2006 & 2007
The first outing of ‘Not About Heroes’ took place in November 2005 at the Imperial War Museum North (Salford) and at the Cabinet War Rooms for Feelgood’s first London staging. Both were major site specific productions of excellence. Then following their acclaimed production at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End in November 2006, Feelgood took their outstanding production on a national tour in 2007.
During the First World War two of England’s greatest twentieth century poets met in Craiglockhart War Hospital. Seigfried Sassoon was a decorated war hero who was hospitalized after protesting against the continuing war. Wilfred Owen was a victim of shell shock and accused of cowardice. Both Sassoon and Owen went back to the front. Sassoon was shot in the head, but survived. Owen went on to win a Military Cross, die in the trenches seven days before Armistice Day and receive posthumous fame as the greatest poet of the war.
Stephen MacDonald’s acclaimed play tells the story of the friendship that transformed them both. This play is far more than a play about war: its eloquence, wit and passion separate the warrior from the war. Using their poetry, letters and autobiographical writings this is a moving celebration of their friendship, their poetry and the power of words.
Owen’s poetry is as relevant today as it was in 1917. The continual search to justify the present war in Iraq poses similar questions to those Sassoon and others asked the generals who prolonged the First World War.
Owen hospitalised as an officer, was among the minority diagnosed with the newly recognised shell shock. Had he been a private might he have been shot? Instead he fell on the field of battle and was decorated as a war hero. Eighty eight years after ‘the war to end all wars’ we still have relatives of ordinary soldiers campaigning for posthumous recognition of loved ones shot for ‘cowardice’ who also suffered from the same nervous disorder.
What the press said: West End Reviews
“This is certainly a stirring piece of bio drama.” Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail
“Sterling performances. See this production for poetry in action, you will not be disappointed.”
This is Local London
“Feelgood’s effective production was, evocative, moving and at times uplifting for a very appreciative audience.” Chester Chronicle
“Feelgood founder Caroline Clegg directs with appropriate restraint and her two leads give performances of considerable depth and resonance.” Manchester Evening News ****
“A memorable evening - once again Feelgood sets the standard.” The Messenger
“Feelgood’s successful revival of Stephen Macdonald’s 25-year-old play… does tug at the heart strings and is beautifully staged - the video work being a neat coda.” The Metro