by Stephen MacDonald
Not About Heroes is an intimate play about the most public of issues: war. Through a series of flashbacks, it charts the friendship of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon from the time of their first public meeting at Craiglockhart War Hospital. It provides a poignant context for their poetry that punctuates the drama and raises a series of questions which remain relevant. Is it more courageous to fight or to lay down arms? How can fighting be for the good of friends and family, when it is friends and family members who are being killed? Is it really better to be a survivor when memories are so painful?
In the play MacDonald gives voice to Owen's thoughts when he writes 'All a poet can do today is warn'. The beauty of Owen and Sassoon's words contradicts the barbarity of the subject matter. Similarly, the quiet evocation of a friendship forged and lost, warns that conflict comes with a price and that war is personal.
2008 marks the 90th anniversary of Wilfred Owen's death. He was killed in action, aged 25, on the Oise-Sambre Canal on the 4th November, 1918, a week before the Armistice and the end of the First World War.
Siegfried Sassoon died in 1967, a week before his 81st birthday.