Gallery Players are proud to present the regional premiere of Tom Stoppard’s translation of Gérald Siblyeras’ award winning play Heroes at the Sir John Mill Theatre from 26th- 29th October, 2011.
This funny, touching and poignant play was written by the acclaimed French playwright Gérald Sibleyras in 2002 and is set in August 1959 in a home somewhere in France for retired military men. The original French title Le Vent Des Peupliers translates as The Wind in the Poplars. Tom Stoppard translated the play into English, using the title Heroes. (Tom Stoppard tells us that he would have called the play Veterans had not Charles Wood got to that play title first in 1972.)
Heroes received its West End debut at Wyndham’s Theatre in 2005 with John Hurt, Kenneth Stott and Richard Griffiths in the title roles. The production went on to win the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
The ‘action’ of the play, if it can be so called, takes place outside on a terrace in the garden of a convent hospital. The French word hôpital means not just a place where the sick are treated, but one of refuge and residence, like the Chelsea Hospital for army pensioners and invalided soldiers.
Gustave, Henri and Philippe spend their days reading, reminiscing, having routine conversations and minor disputes, expressing their irritation about institutionalised life. The arrival of someone with the same birthday as Philippe, coupled with the rumour that they might have to share their terrace, prompts the decision to escape.
The three old soldiers plan an expedition to a hill in the distance, where they can see the wind rustling the leaves on the poplar trees. It involves two river crossings and an uphill climb.
Heroes is a funny, gentle observation of old age, memory and future hope.
We have brought together a talented cast: Peter Phillips plays Gustave, Phil Cory plays Henri and we welcome George Holmes as Philippe, another experienced local actor.