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Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre to Bring NOT ABOUT HEROES to Little Rock


Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre to Bring NOT ABOUT HEROES to Little Rock

Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre has announced that their production of Not About Heroes has been selected to perform at the ACANSA Arts Festival in Little Rock, AR, September 21 and 22, 2017.

This stunning play is a timeless and uncompromising exploration of courage, of humanity and an intense friendship forged through poetry and the power of words, overshadowed by a terrible and all- consuming war. Through the poetry of these two men, we are shown the stark truths and horrors on the battlefields of the Great War.

The original production, featuring Robert Gibby Brand and Seth Macchi, was presented at MET in Kansas City in November of 2014. The production was partnered with the National WWI Museum with pre and post show talks hosted by members of the Museum Staff.

The current production, directed by MET co-founder Bob Paisley, features R. H. Wilhoit as the brilliant young poet Wilfred Owen and Robert Gibby Brand reprising his role as Siegfried Sassoon, his mentor. It will be performed at the Arkansas Rep Annex in downtown Little Rock. See the ACANSA website for times and ticket sales.


ACANSA exists as a visual and performing arts festival dedicated to building a more dynamic and engaging community through the arts and enriching the cultural vitality of the region. By fostering creative collaborations among artists, patrons, businesses, and community institutions, we facilitate the creation and presentation of more compelling art that encourages public dialogue, economic innovation, exposes people to a wider array of artistic experiences, and makes our community a stronger and more vibrant place to live.

Inspired by a 2012 visit to Spoleto Arts Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, ACANSA's Founder, Charlotte Gadberry approached the Mayors of Little Rock, North Little Rock and leaders of our arts communities about collaborating to make ACANSA Arts Festival a reality for Central Arkansas and they enthusiastically agreed. A grass-roots movement ensued with hundreds of volunteers working together in numerous roles to bring this annual festival to Arkansas. The inaugural festival took place September 23-28, 2014. ACANSA continues to develop year after year and is working to establish Arkansas as the next great arts and culture destination in the U.S. Visit for more information.


Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori, facetiously penned British poet Wilfred Owen, who was soon to die in the Great War. "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

This moving play is about the poetic life and the inter relationship between two of the finest Great War poets: Owen who died and Siegfried Sasson who didn't. Told by means of letters and poetry, Not About Heroes paints a vivid picture of the war. The play was first produced by Dundee Rep at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1982. It went on to have productions with the Royal National Theatre and in New York, winning OBIE Awards.

During the First World War, two of England's greatest twentieth century war poets met at Craiglockhart War Hospital. Siegfried Sassoon was a decorated war hero hospitalised after protesting against the continuing war. Wilfred Owen was a victim of shell shock and accused of cowardice. Returning to the front, Sassoon was shot in the head but survived. Owen went on to win the military cross, die in the trenches seven days before Armistice Day and receive posthumous fame as England's greatest war poet. Weaving their great poetry, letters, and autobiographical writings, this emotionally powerful and often witty play tells the moving story of the friendship that transformed them both.

"... These poems are not about heroes; my subject is war, and the pity of war. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn...! That is why true poets must be truthful." - Wilfred Owen 1918, Ripon

This stunning play is a timeless and uncompromising exploration of courage, of humanity and an intense friendship forged through poetry and the power of words, overshadowed by a terrible and all-consuming war. This production was produced as part of Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre's 2014-15 season.

MET is a Kansas City based nonprofit theatre beginning its 13th season. Founded in 2005, MET has produced some of the most famous shows in the theatrical canon, featuring the finest Kansas City actors and actresses in intimate productions of important plays.

At its heart, MET is committed to the art of story. We claim the great stories of our heritage as the birthright for all people. We work to encourage the creation of new stories and new artists whose voices speak to the rich totality of our community and whose perspectives deepen our understanding of each other and of ourselves. We believe that exploration of personal creativity and opportunity for engagement in lifelong learning is critical to the health and happiness of people and our world. Go to for more information.


Robert Gibby Brand (Siegfried Sassoon) has been seen at MET in productions of Emilie, A Man of No Importance, Awake and Sing, Time of Your Life, The Light in the Piazza, One Flea Spare, Pride and Prejudice, Ragtime, and M Butterfly. Bob has also performed at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Quality Hill Playhouse, KC Actor's Theatre, The Spinning Tree, and the Unicorn Theatre.

R.H. Wilhoit (Wilfred Owen) debuted at MET in Picasso at the Lapin Agile and followed up with Photograph 51 and Tennessee Playboy. A graduate of Drury University, he has worked with Theatre for Young America, The Living Room and KC Fringe. Recent credits include Bed Play by Emma Carter at TLR and Second Gravedigger in Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's Hamlet.

Bob Paisley (Director) is an award-winning actor and director, working with theatres across North America, UK and Australia. He has played such challenging roles as Teach in American Buffalo, Heisenberg in Copenhagen, The Man in The Event and the 42nd President in Bill Clinton Hercules. He is a founding member of MET and has directed productions for Theatre West Virginia, the Birmingham Children's Theatre, Neptune Theatre and Fringe festivals in Kansas City, Bedford, Adelaide and Edinburgh.

Stephen MacDonald (Playwright) was a British actor, dramatist, novelist and director. He was brought up and educated in Birmingham, where he trained as an actor, and subsequently worked extensively in Scotland as a theatre director. He began his directorial career at Leicester Phoenix Theatre and was later instrumental in reviving the fortunes of Dundee Repertory Theatre after which he was appointed the Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in 1976. His other plays include All Ayre & Fire, Billy Budd, Jungle Book (all with the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh Company) as well as an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya which toured the UK in 1990. Stephen MacDonald died in 2009.

Shane Rowse (Lighting Design) A resident of Kansas City for 30 years, his lighting designs have been seen on the stages of The Unicorn, The Coterie, Spinning Tree, Musical Theatre Heritage, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, The Living Room, Kansas City Actors Theatre, and others including the American Heartland where he was resident LD and Tech Director for 17 years. In the spring of 2016 he joined the faculty of the UMKC Theatre Department as Assistant Teaching Professor of Lighting Technology.

John Story (Sound Design) has been creating theatre sound for more than 30 years. He has designed for theatres across the United States, Europe, and Australia, including a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. Mr. Story has worked in many aspects of audio production and design, as well as touring extensively throughout the US. He received his MFA in Sound Design from UMKC, where he teaches theatre sound technology.

Marc Manley (Props Master) has been the resident Props Master at MET since 2012. He has designed for many Kansas City theatres, from American Heartland Theatre to the Coterie to Late Night Theatre, his work encompasses painting, sculpture, manufacturing and dreams. Manley is an artist and filmmaker attending UMKC. Although KC is his hometown Manley lived in Orlando where he worked for the MGM Studios Scenic Shop and played characters at Disney World.

Shannon Barondeau (Projections) is a freelance lighting and projections designer in the Kansas City area. Recent projections design credits include Assasins for Spinning Tree Theatre and assistant designer for Oh Beautiful. Recent lighting design credits include An Octoroon for the Unicorn Theatre, Way of the World for UMKC, Broadway on the Hill for Graceland University, and The Soldier's Tale for Owen/Cox Dance and NAVO. She is an MFA candidate at UMKC for Lighting and Projections Design.

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