Plays by Owen Sheers

Mametz

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

‘“For years afterwards the farmers found them – the wasted young, turning up under their plough blades.” So run the blunt, grimly beautiful opening lines of the Welsh poet Owen Sheers’s elegy for the men, 4,000 of them from the 38th (Welsh) Division, who were killed or wounded in the Battle of Mametz Wood in July 1916… Sheers revisits that chapter of carnage in a stirring, sprawling promenade show… He draws on the writings of two survivors in particular. One is the poet David Jones whose fractured, enervated, modernist response to his war-time experiences, In Parenthesis, was hailed as a “work of genius” by TS Eliot. The other key influence is the writer Llewelyn Wyn Griffith… driven to wondering how the sun “could shine on this mad cruelty and on the quiet peace of an upland tarn near Snowdon”... We end up in dark woods and a place of numb desolation, bombarded by words that pierce the heart and vignettes that capture the stomach-churning sacrifice… The finest commemoration of the First World War centenary I’ve seen to-date, this deserves a much longer life.’ Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

Mametz by Owen Sheers was premiered by National Theatre Wales in June 2014.

The Two Worlds of Charlie F.  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Two Worlds of Charlie F. is a soldier’s view of service, injury and recovery. Moving from the war in Afghanistan, through the dream world of morphine-induced hallucinations to the physio rooms of Headley Court, the play explores the consequences of injury, both physical and psychological, and its effects on others as the soldiers fight to win their new battle for survival at home.

Drawn from the personal experience of the wounded, injured and sick Service personnel involved, The Two Worlds of Charlie F. premiered at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, in January 2012 and toured nationally that summer. It was revived for an international tour in 2014.

Unicorns, Almost  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Unicorns, Almost portrays the short life of World War II poet Keith Douglas, from his childhood through four engagements to his fighting in the Western desert, his accelerated education as a poet and his early death three days after the Normandy D-Day landings at the age of twenty-four. It is the story of his Faustian pact with a war that would nurture his unique poetic voice before taking it away. It is also the story of his desperate race to see his poems in print.

Widely recognised as the finest poet of World War Two, Keith Douglas was championed by Ted Hughes as an important influence.

Unicorns, Almost by Owen Sheers opened at The Swan Hotel, Hay-on-Wye, in May 2018.

Owen Sheers is a poet, novelist and playwright. Twice winner of the Wales Book of the Year, his books of poetry include Skirrid Hill, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, and the verse drama Pink Mist, winner of the Hay Festival Poetry Medal. In 2018 he was awarded the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. Owen's theatrical work includes The Two Worlds of Charlie F., winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, Mametz, and National Theatre Wales's seventy-two hour The Passion. Chair of Wales PEN Cymru and Professor in Creativity at Swansea University, he lives in the Black Mountains of Wales with his wife and two daughters.