Transferring from its critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Finborough Theatre earlier this year where it was nominated for seven OffWestEnd Awards including Best New Play, Best Male Performance, and Best Director, the world premiere production of It Is Easy To Be Dead by Finborough artistic director Neil McPherson opens at Trafalgar Studio 2, for a strictly limited four-week season from 9 November to 3 December 2016, with the press night on the 98th anniversary of Armistice Day, Friday 11 November 2016.
When twenty-year-old Charles Sorley is killed in action during the First World War, his devastated parents are left with only his letters and poems to remember him by. Using his extraordinary writings, together with music and songs of the period, It Is Easy To Be Dead is a tender portrait of a brief life filled with promise, cut short by the futility of war.
Charles Sorley was a witty, intelligent and spirited young man from Aberdeen, with a talent for poetry and dreams of escaping his privileged background. Studying in Germany in 1914 – where he was briefly imprisoned as an enemy alien – his life, like those of millions of other young men and their families, was ripped apart by the start of the First World War.
Inspired by his experiences in Germany and of the horror and pity of war, he created some of the most profound and moving war poetry ever written, directly inspiring the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon.
It Is Easy To Be Dead features live 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.
The cast includes Jenny Lee (West End, Royal Court Theatre, The Young Vic, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh), Tom Marshall (National Theatre, West End, Royal Court Theatre, nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance in a Supporting Role for It Is Easy To Be Dead) and two new discoveries – actor Alexander Knox as Charles Sorley, nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance for It Is Easy To Be Dead; acclaimed young tenor Hugh Benson; and prize-winning pianist Elizabeth Rossiter.
It Is Easy To Be Dead is directed by Max Key and designed by Phil Lindley, with lighting and video design by Rob Mills, costumes by Charlotte Espiner, sound by Nathan Hamilton and music direction by Elizabeth Rossiter. It’s production by Breon Rydell and associate producer Amanda Castro.