Award-winning playwright Neil McPherson’s IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD was produced during the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, and went on to gain multiple-award nominations, including for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. This is the first play to be made available online from the tiny but important Finborough Theatre (of which McPherson is Artistic Director).
Born in Aberdeen, Charles Sorley was one of the first to join the army in 1914. Killed in action a year later at the age of 20, his poems are among the most ambivalent , profound and moving war poetry ever written.
IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD tells the story of Sorley’s brief life through his work, blended with music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period including George Butterworth, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, Rudi Stephan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Unique among the poets of the First World War, Sorley’s life and work fits chronologically into the patriotic idealism of such writers as Julian Grenfell and Rupert Brooke (whom Sorley criticised for his “sentimental attitude”). Perhaps because of his time in Germany before the war, Sorley perceived the truth of the war long before his fellow writers, and anticipated the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon.
The show runs 1 hour and 35 minutes and is available until July 7th.
Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.
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