Simon Reade’s critically acclaimed Irish production of the one-man play Private Peaceful starring Shane O’Regan will make its New York debut Off Broadway in August, producers said today. Reade (screenwriter on 2017’s Journey’s End) adapted the play from the novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo.
Earlier productions of the play have been staged on London’s West End, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Bristol Old Vic. A production starring Alexander Campbell was staged in New York at 59E59’s Brits Off Broadway festival in 2006. The current production starring O’Regan began touring Ireland last year.
Producers Pemberley Productions and Ireland’s Verdant Productions said today that Private Peaceful will play a limited six-week engagement at Manhattan’s TBG Mainstage Theatre from August 28 through October 7, with the official opening set for Thursday, September 6.
Morpurgo’s young adult novel was first published in 2003, and Reade’s stage adaptation was first produced the following year at the Bristol Old Vic. Reade also adapted the novel into the 2012 film starring Jack O’Connell.
As described by the producers, the play “follows the life of a young soldier, Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful (O’Regan), facing the firing squad for cowardice. As Tommo sits in his cell awaiting sunrise, he thinks back on the events that made him the person he is today. Tommo recounts memories of growing up with his elder brother, Charlie. They did everything together. They went to school together, faced their problems together, slept and ate together; they even loved the same girl… but now they have to face the many facets of war together. Can a bond and loyalty between brothers overcome the brutality of the front lines and bring them safely home? When the lines of heroism and cowardice collide, what can one man or even a brother do to fight the injustices of it all? The play highlights the dreadful horrors of war while celebrating the joyfulness of life.”
The production features lighting and set design by Anshuman Bhatia and sound design by Jason Barnes.