Following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Finborough Theatre in 2016 where it was nominated for seven OffWestEnd Awards including Best New Play, and its Olivier nominated run at the Trafalgar Studios, and a Scottish tour, the world premiere production of It Is Easy To Be Dead becomes the first Finborough Theatre production to be made available for free viewing online through the Society of London Theatre’s Official London Theatre YouTube channel.
The link is available here. The video is free to view, and will be available until Tuesday, 7 July 2020.
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.
Artistic Director Neil McPherson said: “We are very pleased to make the first of what we hope will be many Finborough Theatre productions available online. The process of clearing rights and permissions for streaming recordings of past shows (assuming, of course, that they were recorded in the first place) is always difficult, and we are especially grateful to the company and creative team of Easy for generously allowing us to make this video available to watch for free.
During our closure, we continue with our two playwriting competitions – the winner of the 2020 RADIUS Playwriting Competition will be announced soon, and we have extended the deadline and increased the prizes for the ETPEP Playwriting Competition for new writers who work in theatre. We continue to celebrate our 40th anniversary by updating our online production archive on our new website, and are regularly posting reviews and images from the last 40 years across all our social media channels. We will be making more of our shows available online, and also hope to take our monthly Finborough Forum online shortly.
But, theatre is a live art form, and no amount of streaming, competitions or Zoom chats can replace that, so we are also using this time to rethink what we do, so that we can come back stronger when we finally reopen.
Sadly, we fall between the cracks of government and local authority support, so if you would like to support us to ensure another 40 years of our work, we would of course be hugely grateful for any donation you can afford to make.”