New Birmingham drama probes aftermath of war
As British military casualties continue to return from the war in Afghanistan, a new play by Jenny Stephens tells the stories of two soldiers fighting a century apart but both coping with the aftermath of war.
Wounded, part of Birmingham REP’s off-site season, is a site-specific play which will be performed this week at the Territorial Army Field Hospital in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Set in 1917 and 2012, Wounded follows the stories of combat medical technician Kate Mulligan and Private Alfred Seddon.
Nearly 100 years after the Great War, Kate Mulligan is treated in the same military hospital that nursed injured soldiers during the First World War.
Wracked with guilt that she caused her own downfall and the life-threatening injuries of another soldier who tried to save her, Kate begins to see and hear Private Seddon.
The two soldiers remember and revisit their experiences, allowing them to explore their trauma and help each other to recover.
During her research for Wounded, Jenny Stephens became increasingly aware of the parallels between the plight of injured soldiers a century apart.
“Living in Birmingham, we're painfully aware of the trauma of war, particularly with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s role in the rehabilitation of soldiers who’ve been terribly injured in war zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I became really interested in how individuals might cope with the trauma of combat in what are, supposedly, very different conflicts. But I soon realised that today's post-traumatic stress disorder is basically ‘shellshock’ by a different name.
“Thankfully sufferers are no longer shot as cowards, as they often were during the First World War. But the effects can still be devastating.”
She added that Wounded is not intended to be an issue-based play.
“I hope it’s an intriguing and heart-warming story that brings together the lives of two soldiers a century apart. I suppose it’s really a ghost story and a meditation about feelings of guilt that people carry with them.”
The cast comprises of Daniel Anderson (Captain Jones), Ben Callon (Alfie Seddon), John Flitcroft (Jacko / Dr Carter), Emma Rollason (Kate Mulligan) and Maisie Turpie (Nurse Gertie Robinson / Rosie Seddon).
Wounded is directed by associate director at Birmingham REP Steve Ball with design by Paul Burgess, lighting design by Simon Bond, sound design by Matt Gray, projection and video design by Adam Guy and music composed by Matthew Williams.
Wounded runs from Tuesday (30 October) until Saturday 10 November (press night Thursday 1 November).