Sean O Casey’s powerful anti-war drama, The Silver Tassie, opens on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre tonight.
Peppered with acrid wit and dark vaudeville humour, O’Casey’s huge and rarely performed play from 1928 displays a jagged madness that belies its Dublin tenement setting and gives full expression to the horror and waste of war.
The Silver Tassie is set in Ireland during World War One. Dashing Harry Heegan leads his football team to victory, arriving home in swaggering celebration, before he grabs his kit and heads for the trenches.
A nightmare world awaits. The men, reduced to cannon-fodder, speak in mangled incantations as the casualties stack up.
Months later, Harry returns, a cripple at the football club party. Everyone but the shattered war veterans dances and forgets.
Directed by Howard Davies the cast includes Adam Best, Aidan Kelly, Stephen Kennedy, Aidan McArdle, Deirdre Mullins and Ronan Raftery.
Raftery, who plays Harry Heegan, has recently appeared in O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock at the NT/Abbey Theatre, Ireland; A View from the Bridge (Royal Exchange); Unscorched (Finborough); and in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat.