Journey's End



  • A realistic anti-war play by R. C. Sherriff (1896 - 1975)that established his reputation. It was first performed (1928) ina Stage Society production at London's Savoy Theatre starring LaurenceOlivier.

    Set in a World-War-I-dugout in France, the play explores therelationship between two ex-school friends, the youthful LieutenantRaleigh and Captain Stanhope. Raleigh hero-worships the older man,but becomes disillusioned with him when he turns to alcohol for comforton hearing of the death of a friend. The next day the young officeris wounded, and Stanhope comforts him before he too enters battle.

    Sherriff first thought of calling his play Suspensebut rejected it "because I couldn't honestly claim that it hadany". Waiting was the second choice, but one night inbed he was reading a book with a chapter that ended with the sentence,"It was late in the evening when we came at last to our Journey'sEnd." He typed the last two words on the front page of his playand "the thing was done".

    Sherriff later recalled his nervousness at the opening: "Iwas all over the theater, running up to the gallery, walking roundthe pit, standing in a box. I couldn't sit down; I must have walkedfive miles in the theater that night. I couldn't bear to look at theaudience... When the curtain fell and there was no applause,I was pained, but thrilled, too."