Tom Basden’s There is a War is a bleakly comic play about the absurdity of war. It was first performed as part of a double bill, Double Feature: Two, with Nightwatchman by Prasanna Puwanarajah, at the Paintframe, a specially converted space at the National Theatre, London, on 26 July 2011.
As soldiers, priests and scavengers roam a battle-scorched landscape, young medical officer Anne, desperately trying to reach a front-line hospital, finds herself abandoned and useless. The war is raging between the almost indistinguishable Blues and Grays, with no end in sight. On her journey Anne encounters, amongst others, an angry priest, some blasé gravediggers, a clown, a group of campaigners and a recently promoted General. But no one seems to know what exactly it is they’re mean to be fighting for.
The National Theatre premiere was directed by Lyndsey Turner and designed by Soutra Gilmour. The cast included Phoebe Fox as Anne, Tom Basden, Kirsty Bushell and Trystan Gravelle.