Firstly, apologies this is so late. I was quite keen to write this post no matter how delayed it might feel.
I had heard nothing of Pat Barker’s ‘Regeneration’ trilogy until my friend asked me if I fancied going to see it on14th October I had done little research on it aside from the time it started and that it was about the war – but when my colleague at work asked me which war, I wrongly replied the second. It seemed I really did know nothing. Sometimes that’s quite a nice position to be in. Excuse me if you feel that contradicts my previous posts about the joy of seeing a book you’ve read adapted, but indulge me when I say I can enjoy both.
The play itself stated that though it was about the war, there would be no shots fired, which I thought was a really lovely idea. Depictions of war often, particularly in the case of The First World War, focus on what happens in the trenches, when really the effects are much more far reaching that just physical wounds. To see a play set almost entirely in a psychiatric hospital was a new experience for me, and one which I felt was carried off very successfully.
The cast were outstanding and there was one part that made me jump so much I thought for a moment my heart would never beat normally again. Dramatic perhaps, but only to show just how moving in so many different ways the play was. Those who know me will know I am difficult to move to tears at the theatre or at the cinema (with books being a notable entertainment exception) but this time, I could feel the liquid in my eyes as I thought about the sheer unfairness of it all.
That was one of the main things I took away from it – it was so grossly unfair. To say so feels like a gross understatement in itself, but to feel the humanity of these men in the play brought it home. It is (relatively) easy to stage gunfire. In fact, you don’t even need guns to do so, thin air will do. But to climb inside the mind of damaged men, well that’s something special.