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Bury The Dead - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN A production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, Bury The Dead by American playwright Irwin Shaw runs at the Kensington venue for a four week limited season – from Tuesday, October 30 to Saturday, November 24, 2018.

They’re still standing up. They’re going to stand up from now till Doomsday. They’re not going to be able to bury soldiers anymore.

When six dead soldiers stand up in their graves and refuse to be buried, the military are at a loss for what to do. The captains and generals attempt to persuade the men to lie down quietly but quickly discover it’s difficult to negotiate with men who have nothing left to lose.

If the greatest honour is to die for your country, how could you ever refuse?

The last in the Finborough Theatre’s GREATWAR100 series, this poignant, expressionistic American protest play, presented during the centenary of the end of the First World War, gives a voice to generations of fighting soldiers across the world lost to countless wars.

Bury the Dead was first performed on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1936 and became an overnight hit. It was last seen in the UK at London’s Unity Theatre in 1938. The show was revived off-Broadway in 2008 and was described as “an expressionistic masterpiece” by Variety.

Bury the Dead is directed by Rafaella Marcus, who will be making her debut at the Finborough Theatre following her critically acclaimed production of I Have A Mouth and I Will Scream at VAULT Festival earlier this year.

The cast includes Simon Balfour (as Second General, Priest, Bevins), Keeran Blessie (Driscoll), Luke Dale (First Soldier, Levy), Liam Harkins (Second Soldier, Morgan), Sioned Jones (Martha Webster, Julia Blake, Mrs Dean, Doctor, Editor, Whore), Tom Larkin (Schelling), Stuart Nunn (Dean), Malcolm Ward (First General, Rabbi), Guy Warren-Thomas (Captain, Charley), Scott Westwood (Sergeant, Webster) and Natalie Winsor (Bess Schelling, Joan Burke, Katherine Driscoll, Reporter, Whore, Stenographer).

Playwright Irwin Shaw (1913-1984) was born in New York. He was a playwright, screenwriter and novelist. His full-length plays included Siege (1937), Quiet City (1939) and The Gentle People (1939). After returning from the Second World War, the subject of war continued to feature throughout much of Shaw’s work including his first, best-selling novel, The Young Lions (1948), about three young German and American soldiers, which later became a screenplay starring Marlon Brando and Dean Martin. Later in his career, Shaw came to be described as the ‘master of the popular novel’ by critics. His novel Rich Man, Poor Man (1970) was made into a highly popular television miniseries.

Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights continues at the Finborough Theatre until October 25. Also at the Finborough: the world premiere production of Exodus, written by Rachael Boulton and presented by acclaimed new Welsh theatre company Motherlode (November 4 to November 20, 2018).

To book tickets, call the box office on 01223 357851 or visit