‘Britain has armed forces in many countries.
Their partners are waiting at home for them to come back.
Some listen to the news, some don’t. Some have affairs, some don’t. Some sing in
choirs and put on a brave face, some don’t. All of them find a way to get on with it.’
Kevin Dyer, writer and director of the brand new play 'The Man Who Left is Not The Man Who Came Home' began his exploration into the lives of military wives by chatting to women who had been married to men who had gone to war.
He writes: "Most of us with partners say goodbye to them when they go to work, but we know that they are going to come back – not so if you are a ‘military wife’. It soon became clear in my conversations that the pressures on the pair of them – the wife and her man – were immense, extraordinary and not at all like civvy street. I soon knew that I didn’t want to write about what it was like being ‘over there’: there are lots of documentaries and pieces of semi-fiction that have covered that. But the stories of the women who watched their man go, spent time thinking, wondering, hoping, coping whilst he was away, then experienced him coming back home, were vivid, inspiring, and largely untold.
I had a few basic questions:
What was it like before he went?
What was it like saying goodbye?
What was it like once he’d gone?
What was it like the moment he came back?
What was it like after the first buzz of his return had passed?
I heard stories of love, hate, betrayal, uselessness, kids, mates, denial, madness. The stories are varied and never simple."
‘We started it – pancakes, breakfast the next morning, wedding, holidays, lie-ins on a
Sunday, two beautiful girls – and when you get back, we’ll finish it. I love you.’
Alongside Chloé’s future hopes come imminent challenges. Because being married to the military means facing deployment. Behind closed doors there’s tenderness and humour, but as the day of Ashley’s departure comes ever closer, anxiety and confrontations multiply. The Man Who Left is Not the Man Who Came Home is the product of over a hundred one-to-one interviews with soldiers and their wives – where secrets, regrets and experiences have been shared for the first time. A story of resilience, of hope, of change – and what it’s like when the man you love is going to war and might not come back. Kevin Dyer’s new play, performed by Stephanie Greer and Sam C Wilson with Sam Trussler, a military wife, is followed by an open conversation about the themes of the play, and the country we live in.
The Man Who Left is Not The Man Who Came Home tells the story of Ashley, a young British soldier, and his wife Chloe, just before, during and after he is posted to serve in Afghanistan. Though we hope that the experience of the play will be moving, relatable or cathartic, and there is no intention to shock, there’s a chance that, for some audience members, it could incite emotions and memories that are upsetting, or strong feelings about war.
Age guidance: 14+ only.
Parents or guardians should understand the content warnings before bringing anyone under 16 to see this play.
Contains strong language and scenes that some audience members may find upsetting.
Please contact email@example.com for a full list of content/trigger warnings
About Farnham Maltings:
Farnham Maltings is a cultural organisation that works with artists and communities of South East England to encourage the most people to make the best art they can. We believe that the arts help us to make sense of the world, bring people together and articulate new ideas. By encouraging people to participate in the arts, as audiences and makers, we will foster a healthier, happier and safer contemporary Britain. We are curious about how we make and build an audience for contemporary theatre. We support a network of 180 venues across the region, organise a bi-annual showcase of new English performance for an international audience, produce a stable of independent theatre companies and are working to diversify the makers and audience for the arts. Farnham Maltings is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and receives specifics support for its international programme.
Presented by Farnham Maltings