Saturday, February 24, 2007

Journey's End

photo: Paul Kolnik

If there is anything less than exactly right in this staggering revival of R.C. Sherriff's 1929 play concerning some of the quiet horrors of fighting war, I don't know what it is. Everything about this production - the superb ensemble, the deliberately hypnotic pace, the oppressively contained staging - seems touched by purposefulness and delivered with integrity. We watch a British infantry unit holed up in the WWI trenches over the course of three days, living through the grim absurdities of waiting for battle. While the play is, on the one hand, a hats-off to their valor under grave pressure, it is also a reminder of the futility of war: this particular duality may be what makes it so especially powerful, and resonant for audiences, right now.

Also blogged by: [Christopher] [David] [Aaron]


Aaron Riccio said...

I don't know if you read the press about "Journey's End" or not, but Sherriff didn't intend this play to be a tract against war; he saw it more as a solemn celebration of what he and his comrades went through. He was just honest about the good times and the bad, and I think it goes to show that the best shows come from TRUTH, not POLICITIZING (which is where "The Vertical Hour" went so wrong).

Patrick Lee said...

Right, but I maintain that this naturalistic production at this time can not help but be a reminder of the futilities of war. But you make a good point that I did not in my post: the play does not preach.