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Not About Heroes
a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Stephen MacDonald

COMPANY : Aris [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 5378

SHOWING : November 02, 2018 - November 18, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

In June 1917, a young English soldier named Wilfred Owen was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital to treat the shell shock he was suffering after four months in the trenches in France. While he was there he met Siegfried Sassoon, a well known poet. This meeting sparked a friendship that would inspire Owen to write what is thought of as the finest poetry to come out of World War I. This touching play seeks, and finds, joy and art in the midst of war. Directed by Frank Miller.


CAST & CREW LIST
Props Master Kyle Crew
Sound Designer Robert Drake
Lighting Designer Nina Gooch
Scenic Painter Harley Gould
Assistant Stage Manager Daniel Housely
Costumer Designer Catherine Thomas
Stage Manner Jim Walsh
Siegfried Sassoon Eric Lang
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Specific Density
by playgoer
Monday, November 19, 2018
3.5
The production values are excellent, as is the acting. The play, though, includes recitation of several poems, all of which reward individual perusal far more than mere hearing. That, and the subject matter of British poetry-making during WWI, make "Not About Heroes" a bit dry for some tastes.

The set, designed by Harley Gould, uses a fuzzy-edged painted background of a battlefield with sandbags, barbed wire, and a bunker. Two desks sit on opposite sides of the stage. Between them in act one we have a rug on which a parlor table sits, flanked by two armchairs. In the second act, a simple bench resides in the middle of the stage, with a wheelchair to the side. This reflects the structure of the play, where the first act takes place in interior scenes, mostly in the Craiglockhart War Hospital for Nervous Disorders, while the second act includes battlefield action.

Nina Gooch’s lighting design helps delineate the location of the various scenes. One nice feature is the use of projections of battlements on the background. Together with Catherine Thomas’ excellent costumes and Mr. Gould’s set, the lighting makes this a fine-looking production. Robert Drake’s sound design does what it needs to do to enhance the action.

What makes the play, though, are the performances. Eric Lang’s expressive face, excellent British accent, and strong voice bring poet Siegfried Sassoon to life. Chris Harding’s ramrod posture, trim mustache, and expressively shy performance make doomed young poet Wilfred Owen an empathetic figure. Director Frank Miller has shaped their performances to have a quiet power. Hints of repressed Edwardian homosexual attraction remain just hints, with discussions of poetry remaining indelibly in the forefront.

Aris’ production of "Not About Heroes" weaves a dramatic structure around the wartime encounters of two poets, one established (Sassoon) and one a newcomer (Owen) whom Sassoon mentors. Watching two men collaborate on revisions to a poem can elicit only so much interest, and luckily the play has enough biographically human content to give the journey of these two men some emotional impact. It’s hardly what I would consider an engrossing play, but this excellent production consistently maintains interest. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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