Director John Ficca has announced his cast for Heroes at Heartland Theatre. Heroes is a French comedy written by Gérald Sibleyras, adapted and translated into English by Tom Stoppard.
The original French production premiered at the Théâtre Montparnasse in Paris in 2003. It received four Molière nominations, including Meilleur Auteur, or Best Author. Subsequently, Heroes has been translated into English, German and Spanish and produced around the world, including productions in Germany, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States. Stoppard's translation debuted in London in 2005, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Its cast included Richard Griffiths (The History Boys, Withnail and I), John Hurt (The Elephant Man) and Ken Stott (Messiah, Broken Glass). Griffiths and Hurt both appeared in the Harry Potter movies, with Griffiths as evil Uncle Vernon and Hurt as Ollivander, the owner of the wand ship in Diagon Alley.
Heartland Theatre's production will feature some of Bloomington-Normal's own best actors, with Todd Wineburner, Joe Penrod and George Peterson-Karlan in the roles played by Griffiths, Hurt and Stott. Those characters are Henri, Gustave and Philippe, three veterans of World War I who find themselves living in a retirement home for old soldiers.
The play is set in 1959, somewhere in the French countryside, where the three gentleman while away their time on the terrace outside their veterans home. They do their best to ignore the nuns who try to boss them around as they gaze off into the distance where they can see a grove of poplars. Le Vent des Peupliers, or The Wind in the Poplars, was Sibleyras's original title, but Stoppard emphasized the military background of his characters when he renamed it Heroes in English.
The play is funny, sweet, a little irreverent and a bit sad, too, as Gustave, Henri and Philippe try to grapple with their own limitations and the vagaries of life in the slow lane. They occupy themselves with their pet, a stone dog who stands on their terrace, along with elaborate plans to escape their confinement to make it to Indochina, or perhaps just a hundred yards down the lane.
Heartland Theatre's production of Heroes will open February 12, with performances through March 1, 2015. Click here for more information or here for reservation info.