The stage adaptation of Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s World War One novel, Johnny Got His Gun will have its UK premiere at Southwark Playhouse from 21st May to 14th June 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, and together with the 75th anniversary of the book’s publication.
Directed by David Mercatali (Tender Napalm, Black Jesus, Dark Vanilla Jungle), and starring Jack Holden (War Horse, Minotaur) as injured soldier Joe Bonham, Johnny Got His Gun is a powerful play about war, its perpetrators and its victims, based on the 1939 book by the American novelist and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Spartacus, Roman Holiday).
‘Always here the same people willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. But it’s time two people had a say in things: us little guys and the dead.’
When the call came, idealistic Joe Bonham eagerly volunteered for the trenches of World War One. Now he has paid a price he never expected, and far away from his American homeland he struggles to come to terms with what his world has become. As his grip on reality becomes ever more tenuous he reflects on the true nature of war and the choices he made.
Adapted for the stage by Bradley Rand Smith, Johnny Got His Gun won an Obie-award for Jeff Daniels when it premiered on Broadway in 1983. The book has also been filmed twice, with Timothy Bottoms in 1971, and Benjamin McKenzie in 2008.
David Mercatali is an associate director at Southwark Playhouse. Directing credits include Dark Vanilla Jungle (Traverse Theatre), Our Ajax, Feathers in the Snow, Tender Napalm (all Southwark Playhouse), Black Jesus (Finborough Theatre) and Moonfleece (Riverside Studios).
Dalton Trumbo (1905 – 1976) was an American screenwriter and novelist. He won two Academy Awards®, for his screenplays for The Brave One and Roman Holiday. He was blacklisted in 1947 by the House Committee on Un-American Activities for being a suspected Communist. His many credits as screenwriter include Spartacus, Exodus and Papillon. In January 2014 it was reported that Steven Spielberg would begin filming Trumbo’s script for Montezuma, starring Javier Bardem. A film of Trumbo’s life, starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), begins filming this year.
Bradley Rand Smith is a writer and director. His other stage credits include Daughter, Theatricals, Mojave, Nocturn, Jazz Lives, Blue Notes and Conversations with God, while his screenplays include Blink, The Craftsman, Last Verdict and the 2008 film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun.
Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun
Adapted for the stage by Bradley Rand Smith, Based on the novel by Dalton Trumbo, Directed by David Mercatali and starring Jack Holden.
The Little, Southwark Playhouse
77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD
Box office 020 7404 0234
ALL preview tickets £10
Performance times: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Saturday matinee 3pm
Ticket prices: £18, £16
Nearest Tubes: Borough / Elephant and Castle
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Thursday 30th January 2014